Gardening Ideas Fall Plants How To Care for Mums for Plenty of Fall Color Keep your yard dazzling with vivid reds, golds, and yellows. By Patricia S York Patricia S York Patricia was the assistant food editor at Southern Living and worked with the Southern Living food team from 2006-2022. She contributed to articles about food, gardening, and pets. Southern Living's editorial guidelines Updated on September 11, 2022 Fact checked by Elizabeth Berry Fact checked by Elizabeth Berry Elizabeth Berry is a fact checker and writer with over three years of professional experience in the field. She has fact checked lifestyle topics ranging from destination wedding venues to gift guide round-ups for a variety of publications including Brides, The Spruce, and TripSavvy. In addition to her fact checking background, she also has over six years experience of reporting, writing, and copy editing articles for digital magazines including Woman's Day and The Knot. Elizabeth also has a strong background in e-commerce content as both a fact checker and writer. brand's fact checking process Share Tweet Pin Email In This Article View All In This Article What Colors of Mums Are Available? How To Shop for Mums How To Plant Mums How To Encourage New Growth How To Care for Mums Throughout Winter Photo: Rena-Marie / Getty Images The daytime temperatures may still be soaring upwards as the end of summer approaches, but believe it or not, containers of colorful chrysanthemums—or mums as we like to call them—will soon be appearing at your local plant nurseries and gardening centers. Perhaps no other fall flower creates as much excitement as the mum. The arrival of this brightly colored flower signals the coming of shorter days, cooler weather, outdoor decorating, cozy sweaters, pumpkins, apples, and so many more wonderful things. Follow these easy steps to get the best blooms and lengthy shows from your mums this fall. Rena-Marie / Getty Images What Colors of Mums Are Available? Mums bloom in all fall colors, offering vibrant orange, red, and yellow petals. The versatility of the chrysanthemum means that they also show off in white, pink, and lavender blossoms. You can group colorful mums in containers to display on your front porch, plant them attentively in your garden, or have fun with "mumkins" by arranging bouquets of mums using pumpkins as planters, creating a lovely fall decoration. How To Shop for Mums To maximize the chrysanthemum's bloom time, buy the plants just as they are starting to break bud. This strategy means buying mums with the least number of buds showing color since you will see a better bloom from this planter later. However, you'll want to ensure enough buds are showing to check the color of the plant you're buying. Not only will you be sure of what color mums you'll end up with when they fully bloom, but the flowers will also last longer this way. Once the buds open up more, you are practically guaranteed flowers. How To Plant Mums Mums purchased from large garden centers are likely to be root bound and starving for soil, water, and nutrients. You'll need to repot them and give them plenty of room to breathe. Pick a container or garden spot that offers the mums ample space for the root ball to spread out and grow. Whether you place your mums in pots to decorate your porch or use them as a bedding plant, you want to choose a spot that gets a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight daily—even more for bigger plants. Water well and continue to water every other day as long as the plant continues blooming. How To Encourage New Growth Keep mums in moist soil, but not wet. Fertilizing these particular flowers is not necessary. It would help if you also took time to remove spent and faded blooms to encourage even more buds to open, and you will have beautiful, colorful mums throughout the season. How To Care for Mums Throughout Winter Relocate Mums After a few touches of frost, the foliage on your mums will begin to brown. That means it is time to replant potted mums in your garden. Also, if you had put mums into beds for temporary fall color, you may want to transplant them to another location, as well. When repotting or relocating your mums, choose a location with well-draining soil. Often, it isn't necessarily the cold weather that kills mums, but the ice that forms around the roots if the mums are sitting in water. Soil that drains properly is key to successfully overwintering mums. You may also want to choose a somewhat sheltered location from strong, cold winter winds, which can also be harsh on mums. Prune and Mulch Mums Once in the ground, cut the stems of the mums at three to four inches above the ground. Leaving a little bit of the stems will ensure you have a full plant next year, as the new stems will grow from these trimmed stems. Once the ground has frozen, add a layer of either mulch, straw, or leaves over the plant to help keep it insulated. Mulching keeps the soil from going through a cycle of warming to freezing and back to warming, which only confuses the plant as to whether it should stay dormant or begin new growth. Watch for new foliage in the spring, fertilize with organic fertilizer, and pinch every two to four weeks to ensure you have sturdy plants come fall. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources Southern Living is committed to using high-quality, reputable sources to support the facts in our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we fact check our content for accuracy. Duke University. How to Grow Large Chrysanthemum Blooms. Accessed March 10, 2023. Penn State Extension. Chrysanthemums.