Chrysanthemums, also known simply as mums, are incredibly popular flowers that people go indoors and outdoors. The flowers are native to East Asia as well as northeastern Europe, though you will find them in houses all over the world.
The reason for that is simple: they look incredibly gorgeous and are very easy to maintain. Mums can add much-needed color and spark to your yard or your garden, and when they bloom, they can significantly improve the aesthetic appeal of the entire space.
The rich colors provided by the mums are usually seen throughout the country. They are available through hardiness zones 5 to 9. However, you need to understand that mums have grown considerably, and there are many different hybrids that require special care.
Most people usually buy mums because they are so inexpensive and readily available from virtually any nursery center across the country.
However, you need to understand that these plants require special care, and if you do not properly care for them, it’s not going to take very long before your mums start to die.
Before we talk about the bloom and how to extend it, it’s important to talk about the overall lifespan of the plant.
Mums can be divided into two primary categories, the floral variety and the garden variety. They are both bred with very different objectives, and as a result of the differences in breeding, the lifespan also differs considerably.
The floral variety is usually planted in the ground during the fall season. Almost all of the energy of the plant is geared toward blooming. That is one of the main reasons why mums have some of the most beautiful blossoms that you will ever see.
However, the problem that arises is that because the plant is focused purely on blooming, it is unable to put down the roots or store the resources that will be required as the frost takes over.
These plants are unable to survive through the winter in most cases. They are not able to flesh out their roof system, and as a result of that, the plant usually dies during the snowing season.
On the other hand, the garden variety is quite different. They are usually planted in the spring season, and tend to bloom throughout the summer months. Most mums that are planted during the spring season will also continue to blossom throughout the fall season as well.
These plants get plenty of time to put down their roots and store their resources. While the blossom might not be as vivid or as colorful as the ones you notice in the floral variety, you should know that it’s equally beautiful and will paint your garden with a bunch of different colors.
On top of that, these plants can easily live throughout the winter and are usually able to survive for up to four years in USDA zones 5 to 9.
While the lifespan of the mums is usually a few years, you should know that it can be extended through proper care as well. There are multiple ways by which you can move this procedure ahead.
First of all, you should always make sure that the mums are planted in the spring season instead of the fall, as they will have plenty of time to establish their presence and expand their roots under the ground.
Secondly, you should always plant the mums in an area that receives a lot of sunlight. Exposure to the full sun is necessary for the plants to grow smoothly.
You should know that mums require quite a bit of care, so you will have to prune your plants throughout the season from time to time.
This is important as it creates a fuller, more compact blossom. On top of that, the plant will be able to use more of its resources to grow the roots instead of focusing on branches that are dying or about to be removed.
You need to water the plant at a steady pace up until the first frost arrives. Keep in mind that the first frost is going to kill certain parts of the plant, and some of the growth is probably going to recede. You will need to prune and cut away the dead leaves on the plant.
In fact, there are quite a few gardeners who recommend that you cut down your plant all the way to the ground during the winter season. Regardless of the cutting option you choose for your plants, you should know that mulching is necessary, and you need to do that regularly to make the plant survive.
Once the temperatures warm up as the spring season arrives, you can then reduce the mulching. Before long, you will notice rapid growth and the mums will begin to blossom again.
Keep in mind that some of your mums might not make it through the winter, no matter how much you care for it. Expect more damage in the winters with each passing year.
How to Extend the Bloom
Now that you know how to extend the lifespan of your mums, let’s talk about how to extend the bloom.
First and foremost, you need to understand that proper maintenance is essential. You have to provide the right nutrition to your plants. This includes watering the plants with enough water to moisten at least the top eight inches of the soil.
Then, you need to mulch with at least three inches of bark to conserve the moisture between every watering. A pound of 5-10-5 fertilizer will do your mums a world of good, so sprinkle it over an area of around 25 square feet in your garden every month.
Once you apply the fertilizer, water the plants thoroughly. This is going to help the fertilizer sink into the ground.
These are just a few tips to make your mums last longer and also extend their bloom, and if you are careful, you will have some beautifully colored blossoms!
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.