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Why Are My Mums Wilting?

Why Are My Mums Wilting?

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Chrysanthemums, or mums for short, are vibrant flowers that infuse fall colors into your garden. However, mums can be notoriously easy to kill. They seem to dry out and droop in an instant. So why is it so common for mums to wilt?

Most mums wilt because of the soil drying out. These thirsty plants need to be watered often to keep the soil evenly moist.

Watering mums too much can also be damaging since it can lead to diseases like root rot. Mums need loose, well-draining soil to grow in.

In all cases, mums can either be resilient or fragile, depending on how they’re cultivated and sold.

In this article, I’ll troubleshoot wilting mums and discuss how to keep them looking cheerful all season long.

Why Do Mums Wilt?

One of the most frustrating things about owning mums is how easily they wilt and die. Several reasons can cause your mums to wilt, from not watering them enough to weak root systems.

Multiple Colors Of Chrysanthemums

Weak Root System

Much of the reason that mums wilt so easily lies in how they’re cultivated and sold. Nurseries grow mums under optimal, climate-controlled conditions. When they start budding just before fall, they’re sent to supermarkets and garden centers in masses.

People like to buy mums that have already flowered because they add instant color to the garden. Nonetheless, It’s not the best option for the long-term health of the plant.

When plants flower, all their energy goes into producing blooms, not growing a strong root system.

When you buy mums from the supermarket and plant them out in the fall, it doesn’t give them enough time to grow a healthy root system before they flower. Without a robust root system, they’re more vulnerable to wilting when the soil gets dry.

Not Enough Water

Mums are thirsty plants. Leaving them without water for prolonged periods can dry out their soil, leaving them vulnerable to wilting.

Ensure that your mums are getting around an inch of water in their soil every week. That can add up to three weekly watering sessions.

Before pouring water over the mums, ensure the top two to three inches of soil are dry to avoid overwatering the houseplant.

Too Much Sunlight

While mums are a big fan of the sun’s bright light, too much of it, particularly during summer, can lead to overly dry soil. For this reason, you should keep them in the shade if the sun gets too intense.

You also have to account for winter and fall, when the sun may not provide your mums with the needed light intake. Fortunately, you can resolve this with artificial lights.


Overwatering also poses a risk to mums. If you water mums too often, or the soil they’re in doesn’t drain enough, the roots can develop rot from being in waterlogged soil.

Consequently, it can cause the plant to look wilted and unhealthy.


If your plant’s growth conditions are optimal, it may be wilting because of a fungal disease. A couple of these ailments include verticillium and Leaf Spot.

Most fungal issues come from infected mums entering your garden. For this reason, I’d recommend doing a thorough check of each new houseplant that goes into your garden to avoid further infection.

Fortunately, these diseases are usually manageable with fungicide treatment. If the disease has spread too much, you’ll have to dispose of the plant to avoid further infection.

Can Wilted Mums Be Revived?

If your mums are wilting from too little or too much water, they can be saved, but only if caught in time. Whether wilted mums can be revived depends on how long they’ve been suffering.

If your mums have just started looking wilted, there’s some hope for revival. On the other hand, if they’ve been showing signs of stress for a few days, and you’ve optimistically waited to see if they’ll come around, they’re probably beyond saving.

Another factor that matters in this case is the cause of wilting. For instance, if you’re dealing with the late stages of root rot, it might be more difficult to revive your mums than if your plant is suffering from an aphid infestation.

How to Tell if Your Mums Are Dead

Before yanking your mums out of the ground in frustration, make sure they’re dead and not just severely wilted! Here’s how to tell if your mums have kicked the bucket or if there is still hope for them.

Inspect the Leaves

Start by checking the leaves. Is all the foliage brown and crispy? If yes, your mums are probably dead.

If you can still see some signs of life – a green leaf here and there and tiny new leaf buds growing near the base of the plant – there’s still hope for your mums!

Check the Roots

If you cannot tell if your mums are dead by just looking at the leaves, invert the pot and take a look at the roots.

If your mums’ roots are brown and dry, the plant is dead.

On the other hand, if you can spot some white, healthy roots, your plant can be revived.

How to Revive Wilted Mums

Watering Chrysanthemums

Reviving your wilted mums depends on the cause. For example, if your mums are suffering from a dry spell, a top-up in their watering session can work wonders.

To rehydrate wilted mums, place them in a tub with a few inches of water. Bottom-watering your mums will allow them to soak up as much moisture as they need. Leave the pot in the tub of water for two to three hours, then remove it and allow excess water to drain away.

You can also topwater your mums to revive them. Give them a generous watering so that excess water drains from the holes in the bottom of the pot.

In contrast, your mums’ soil could be waterlogged. If that’s the case, repot them into a holed container with well-draining soil.

If your mums are wilting from a pest issue, like aphids, spray them away with water or a pesticide spray.

How Often You Should Water Mums

Mums need to be watered often, especially when growing in pots. If they’re growing in the ground, they won’t need as much water.

How frequently you need to water your mums depends on a few factors, including the daily temperature, humidity, and amount of sunlight.

If you live in a hot, dry climate, you may need to check if they need water daily. In contrast, you might only need to water them every third or fourth day in a cooler climate.

Checking their weight can be a reliable indicator of when your mums are thirsty. Just pick the pot up and feel the weight. If it feels light, your mums need water. If the pot still has some weight to it, you can wait a while before you water them.

Do Mums Need Sun or Shade?

Chrysanthemums In The Sun

Mums prefer growing in full sun rather than partial or full shade. They grow bushier and bloom best when they get full sun, but they can tolerate growing in partial shade. The houseplant needs at least four hours of direct sunlight daily.

Tips for Maintaining Your Mums All Season

Take these simple steps to enjoy your mums all season long:

1. Repot Them Upon Purchase

The best thing you can do for mums is to repot them as soon as you bring them home. Mums that are already in bloom when you buy them will be root-bound in their nursery pot. A new pot will allow the houseplant to stretch its roots more freely.

2. Deadhead Your Mums

Keep picking the spent flowers off your mums. Doing so will keep the plant producing more flowers. The wilting stems will compete for the water your new growing buds need. Subsequently, deadheading is essential to keeping your mums looking good all season.

3. Ensure They Get Enough Sunlight

As the angle of the sun changes and the days get shorter with the seasons, you should move your potted mums around so that they always get the most sunlight.

Ensure your mums get at least four hours of direct sunlight every day. It’ll keep them blooming and looking cheerful.

Final Thoughts

Why are your mums wilting? There could be several culprits. Some include disease and too much or too little water.

The good news is that most of these issues can be resolved as long as you catch them early. Overall, all your mums need is some extra sunlight, water, and a roomy space to flourish in your garden.

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