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Deadheading Mums + More Tips to Make Chrysanthemums Last Longer

Fall is Mum Season!

The flowering equivalent of putting on toasty, fuzzy socks, wrapping yourself in your favorite, cozy, thick knitted sweater, and sipping on a soothing warm drink.

Nothing spices up the warm autumn colors of your backyard fall display like fall-blooming chrysanthemums .

Punctuating Precious Fall Moments

Treated well, chrysanthemums give glorious color through fall, past Thanksgiving, and may even adorn the winter holiday festivities!

The Perfect Size for Every Use

Hardy, fall-blooming mums, available at your favorite nursery, will have a vast array of sizes making them ever so useful.

Annual flowers looking a little worse for wear? Go ahead. Pull them out. Pop a couple of small 4-inch pots of garden mums into tired summer containers or in the annual flower bed for ongoing color through fall.

Small to medium-sized mums are perfect for planting up fall-flowering pots, containers, and hanging baskets.

Plant medium to large-sized mums, with their full, explosive bushels of blooms alone as a specimen for fantastic bright rich color.

In their own pot from the nursery or planted in your favorite containers, mums grace the autumnal display while tying the warm cozy colors of fall together.

Warm Colors for Cool Seasons

Hardy mums come in rich shades of orange, red, yellow, gold, white, pink, and burgundy ready to warm up the perfect ornamental backyard fall display.

Hardy mums, also called garden mums, make great friends to other fall-bloomers such as dahlias, pansies, and asters.

Their compact round shape fits right in alongside autumn showstoppers like ornamental grasses and ornamental cabbage or kale.

Why Deadhead Mums?

Simple. The more you deadhead, the longer your mum will push its luxuriously gorgeous blossoms.

Bred for centuries, fall-blooming mums are grown to keep their round compact shape while producing ongoing blossoms for weeks and weeks.

Removing the dried and finished flowerheads, known as deadheading, allows the flower buds underneath to reach the plant’s surface and burst open.

This continually keeps the chrysanthemum plant covered in terrific, prolific blooms.

And guess what? Chrysanthemums are edible and medicinal, so long as they’re not covered in pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizers.

Chrysanthemum flower tea has been used in Chinese Traditional Medicine for millennia. It potentially relieves inflammation, high blood pressure, and respiratory issues.

So, deadheading, collecting, and drying mum flowers can also put a little something extra comforting in the pantry. Or in a cozy, soothing, warm, fall drink.

How To Deadhead Mums

Luxurious labor of love, simply pinch mum flowers as they begin to fade.

Spend a couple of savory moments once or twice a week with your gorgeous mum plants, thanking them for their rich color, and give them a quick cleaning.

Usually, delicate enough to pinch the faded blossoms with your thumb and index finger, pinch each blossom off right where the next set of leaves begin to emerge.

Pinching at the next set of leaves keeps the plush, classic mum form, where pinching the flower off at its base will leave pincushion-like stems all over the plant.

Overwhelmed by Too Many Faded Flowers?

Missed a couple of deadheading sessions? It’s time to break out the shearing tools!

Yes, you can gently shear the top layer of faded chrysanthemum flowers.

Shearing makes quick work of exposing the many flower buds underneath the surface blossoms.

Shearing gives the opportunity to reshape the mum a little bit too so that it fits the space it’s in or makes room for neighboring plants.

Try not to shear too deeply into the plant, as it is easy to accidentally shear off unopened blooms.

Related Reading: How To Deadhead Flowers: 3 Reasons Why You Should (& When You Shouldn’t)

Tips to Picking the Mum Plant that Will Last the Longest

Pick a mum in September or October at your favorite nursery.

Pick a mum that is just about to open its terrific prolific blooms.

Put your gorgeous new chrysanthemum in full sun.

Secret Tip for Shady Mums

If you must put your mum in the shade, pick a mum that is already mostly in full bloom because mums won’t open too much more in the shade, but they’ll still hold their colorful open blooms for a few weeks.

Mum’s Bloom in Succession for A Long-Lasting Parade of Mum Flowers

Like many spectacular blooming plants, some mums will bloom earlier or later than others.

Mums come in early, mid, and late fall-blooming varieties.

For the longest parade of blooming mums, choose early, mid, and late fall-blooming plants.

At the garden center or nursery, some plants will be fully open (early), starting to open (midseason), or in bud (late). These are good indicators of how much bloom time is left for each plant.

*Warning. Some mums are artificially forced to bloom too early in the season, which means they may be well past their peak for amazing fall color.

Hardy Mum Care for Healthy Long-Lasting Plants

No matter where you put your potted mum, she’ll be thirsty! Water mums at least daily and put a saucer under the pot to hold extra water.

Once the stunning blooms start to open, stop the fertilizer. Blooming mums have already done all the hard work to get to the blooming stage, so the fertilizer will just confuse them and may cause unwanted leggy growth.

Chrysanthemum plants have strong root systems. Transplant them into larger pots with healthy potting soil. Especially if they are root bound in the pot they came in.

Hardy Mums Versus Florist Mums – What’s the Difference?

Hardy mums, also known as garden mums, are perennials that are hardy in zones 4-5 to 9.

They produce a strong root system with winter-hardy stolons which allow them to survive outdoors in winter where florist mums are more tender.

Often, mums are not labeled hardy or not, so it is a bit of a gamble. Not 100% of the time, but a simple rule of thumb, hardy mums tend to have a full double blossom where florist mums may have an open-centered flower.

Can I Plant My New Mum Outdoors?

Mums are often treated as a glorious fall-blooming annual to help us celebrate the end of the growing season.

But yes! Hardy mums are perennial! They are hardy in zones 4-5 to 9.

Plant them 4 to 6 weeks before the ground freezes.

Hardy mums need some time to get established to give them a fighting chance to survive the winter.

Treat them as you would other fall-planted perennials.

Easy to grow, give your garden mum enough space (2 to 3 feet), plenty of sunshine, and lots of water in well-draining soil, and you’ll be rewarded by fall blooms year after year.

Next spring, to keep the mum’s compact round lush form, pinch back the mum a few times in late spring and early summer for bushy, prolific blooms next fall.

Final Thoughts

A well-deadheaded chrysanthemum helps us punctuate precious fall moments with cozy, rich color while we celebrate the best of the growing season’s end.