Whether you are growing some delicately beautiful mums yourself outside or you plan to buy a couple of pre-potted plants from a store, there are a few ways to keep your mums, short for chrysanthemums, in the blooming stage for a longer period of time, as well as looking hardier and more brightly colored.
Why would you not do everything in your power to enjoy the pretty flowers found on mums for several weeks to come? These tiny blossoms are a feast for the eyes, so let your sense of sight reap all it can from your mums.
Choose the Best Mums
If you are purchasing your mums from a store rather than growing them in your yard, it is important to pick out the highest-quality mums you can find. These plants can be quite expensive, so it is of course ideal that you keep them alive for as long as possible, blooming well into autumn.
Look for mums that appear generally healthy, but also seek out ones that are not yet showing any signs of blooming whatsoever.
The mums that are already revealing their blossoms are closer to losing those flowers as well. The flowers will quickly dry out and shrivel up, and the vibrant colors will begin to dull only a couple weeks after you buy them, at best.
Make sure to pick out the mums that have the most tightly closed buds. These can last for at least a month, but you may be able to squeeze even more life from them if you take heed of a few tips, which are provided below.
Properly Caring for Your Mums
Although it is vital to pick out hardy mums that are not yet blossoming, it is perhaps even more important to care for the plants properly.
It is probably no surprise that water and sunlight play huge roles in the health of your mums and the length of time they will remain in the flowering stage. If you want to keep your chrysanthemums blooming, check out the ideal water and light conditions for doing so in the following sections.
Water those thirsty mums
The amount of water, as well as your method for watering, could possibly be the biggest factors in determining how long the mums will blossom.
These plants are very thirsty, and this is especially true during the flowering stage. It takes more sustenance to support this ongoing growth of delicate blossoms. Watering your plants adequately can keep them looking fresh and vibrant with beautiful blooms.
Since the humidity levels drop so low in autumn, it is vital to water your mums at least once a day. If it is hot, then you may need to water them even more frequently.
You can check the soil moisture to see if your mums are ready to be watered. Simply stick the end of a finger into the dirt. If it is lacking moisture about an inch down into the soil, it is in need of water.
The way that you water your mums is also extremely important. The flowers on these plants do not like getting wet. If you saturate them, it can ruin their beautiful colors and result in their loss more quickly.
Thus, when you give your mums water, you should make sure to avoid getting a lot of water on the blossoms. You can avoid saturating them by adding water at the base of the plant or, if your mums are in pots, you can add water at the sides of the soil.
Another important factor is drainage. You need to make sure that the soil containing your mums is able to drain well, as too much moisture can also harm your plants.
Taking the information provided into consideration can make the blooms on your mums last much longer.
Too much light is harmful
Although mums need a lot of water, they can be harmed by too much light. If they receive an abundant amount of direct sunlight, it can result in the blooming of fewer flowers for a shorter period of time. This is exactly what you are trying to avoid.
This is why you should find a location for your mums in your house or yard that only gets hit by partial sunlight, or an area that is shaded totally. This can have a huge impact on the blooming stage of your mums.
There are a few other actions you can take that will give your mums a better chance at blooming longer and being healthier overall.
If you are growing your own mums outdoors, it is smart to fertilize the soil where they will be planted. You can either use an organic or inorganic variety purchased from a gardening store, or you can create your own fertilizer.
There are several different recipes for a good homemade fertilizer. This article will provide you with instructions for how to make your own compost.
Keep in mind, however, that it can take months to prepare the compost, so this is something that you need to think about doing long before you actually use it.
With composting, there are three different routes you can take. You can either opt for cold composting, hot composting, or vermicomposting. These will each be explained separately below.
Cold composting: Of all the composting methods, this one takes the longest to yield usable compost, but it also requires the least amount of effort.
This composting process involves gathering all of the organic materials from your yard, such as leaves and grass clippings, and stacking them in a bin or a contained pile.
You can also include compostable materials from your kitchen, such as banana peels, coffee grounds, and egg shells. Depending on the nutrients your soil is lacking, you might want to include certain organic materials that will balance out the pH of your soil.
This method should yield usable compost in about a year’s time.
Vermicomposting: This method requires worms. However, they must be a specific type called the redworm. These can be purchased online or at some garden supply stores.
These redworms will feed on your tossed-out food bits and, in turn, release nitrogen into your compost. This process can take between three and six months to turn your pile of material into rich, usable compost.
Hot composting: This method is the fastest for making your own compost. If you start your pile of organic material in the warmer months, it can take as little as a month for your compost to be ready for use. It might still take a few months, however.
For this method to yield results in a speedy fashion, there are four components that are required. These include nitrogen, water, air, and carbon. These four pieces of the puzzle will supply the microorganisms in your compost with sustenance, which helps decompose the pile of material faster.
Do not start your compost pile until you have gathered enough materials for it to be a few feet deep. You need to combine green materials with dried-up brown materials.
For the base of your compost pile, it is best to use a 3:1 ratio, with the brown materials making up the larger portion. Your pile should not be too wet or smell strongly. This indicates that your compost needs additional brown materials.
Water your compost pile regularly, but not too much as this will result in rotted materials rather than a usable compost pile. You can use a thermometer to check the temperature in the middle of your pile to make sure it’s warm, or you can simply feel it with your hand.
You should also turn over your compost every week to provide it with oxygen. This will keep the compost from sticking together as well. Ideally, you should begin turning your pile once its center is warm.
Mulch or straw
There is one very simple step you can take to help keep your mums healthy with vibrant blooms year after year.
This step involves placing mulch or straw on top of and around your plants throughout the winter months. This is particularly helpful if you live somewhere that gets very frigid and icy in the winter.
The layer of mulch or straw will act as an insulator, keeping the roots of your mums better protected while the earth is getting bombarded by the cold and snow.
It is a good idea to trim away dead flowers or pieces of plant from your mums. This will prevent the nutrients it receives from being directed to these dying areas instead of to the healthy parts of the plant. In other words, these dying parts are stealing the goods from the thriving parts.
Another action that you can take if your mums start producing blossoms prematurely, or in the spring, is cutting off the buds before late summer rolls around. This will make it more likely for your mums to stay in the flowering stage well into the fall season.
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.