Chrysanthemum Care Tips And Decor Tips

During the fall season, we all go crazy for potted mums, don’t we?! Chrysanthemums are some of the prettiest fall perennials around, so it’s no wonder people love to use them as decorative accents once the weather starts to cool.

Dark red and yellow potted mums sitting next to pastel-colored small pumpkins. Backdrop is light-stone.
Red and yellow-orange mums on a front porch that has been decorated for autumn with heirloom white, orange, and grey pumpkins.

Stick a few mums of various colors in a few pots and you’ve got yourself some lovely eye candy for your front porch.

Plant them next to other fall-blooming flowers like marigolds and purple coneflowers, and you’ve just created a low-maintenance flower bed that will bloom until frost and will shoot back up again next year!

That’s pretty amazing if you ask me.

Chrysanthemums are particularly beloved for their voracious blooms that form a mounding shape inside pots or in the ground.

Their blooms can last for weeks which makes them a good investment, especially if you’re using them as part of your fall decor.

The best part is they’re relatively inexpensive (about a few dollars a pot) so if something goes awry, you’re not out a lot of money.

I know that many people struggle with keeping mums alive and looking their best through the season, so I’m sharing a few tips that have helped me keep these beauties thriving.

Let’s get started!

Shopping Tips for Buying Potted Mums

You can start shopping for potted mums in late August, though I caution against it. It’s simply too hot for your potted mums to thrive outside during this time!

Yes, mums love the sun, but they don’t love scorching temperatures. Being kept in 90-degree weather is nowhere near ideal for keeping their blooms looking fresh!

Instead, wait until the weather in your hardiness zone has cooled. These days, that means late September and October.

This way, they’ll avoid the blistering sunlight, which can quickly scorch their buds and blooms, from one day to the next.

The mums you get at your local garden center will bloom for a few weeks, so you’ll still get plenty of time to enjoy them before winter sets in.

Chrysanthemum Care

When you shop for your potted mums, always buy a pot that has more closed buds on it than open blooms. This means the plant is getting ready to bloom and will bloom at your house when you take it home!

You want your mums to bloom after you purchase it, not while it’s sitting at the garden center- that’s just a waste!

Mums in full bloom might look gorgeous at the store but you should expect a shorter bloom time if you take those home!

Another good shopping tip is to inspect the root system before purchasing.

Before you bring your potted mums home, take the plant out of the plastic pot, and inspect the roots.

Take a look at the soil beneath the base of the plant: do you see mostly soil and very little of the root system? Or do you see mostly roots and very little soil?

Purple chrysanthemum plant with bare root system showing. Dark soil with some cream-colored roots showing.

If you can see more roots than soil, this means the pot is root-bound and is in desperate need of more soil. It’s time to repot into a slightly larger pot!

Repotting into a larger pot with more soil will help to ensure that the root system gets all of the moisture it needs when you water it.

Always remember that if there isn’t enough soil in the pot to accommodate the root system, then the roots won’t ever get enough water and they’ll quickly dry out.

Less soil = less water available for the roots to drink.

You should aim to inspect the roots at the garden center because if the plant is root-bound, you’ll know it on the spot, which means you can buy a larger pot at the store if need be, without having to make a second trip.

Or, simply choose another mum that isn’t rootbound.

Watering Tips for Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums may be classified as drought-tolerant perennials, but I have found that they LOVE being watered every day.

Nurseries keep mums pretty moist, so it only makes sense to keep them moist when you bring them home.

They’ve been accustomed to getting water every day so underwatering them would shock the plant and cause the blooms to dry out.

I water my mums every morning with a watering can. It’s simple: I make sure the soil feels moist an inch deep into the pot.

I do the tough test: I stick my finger into the soil about an inch or two deep. If it feels dry, I know it needs water, but if it still feels pretty moist, I’ll skip the watering for a day.

Purple-pink potted mums in brown plastic pot.

Watering every day might sound tedious but it has a huge payoff: good-looking mums with pretty blooms and healthy foliage.

Underwatering is the biggest problem people have when it comes to fall mums: they let the soil go dry for too long and this causes the buds and blooms to wrinkle and fall off the stem.

My other recommendation is to water the soil, NOT the leaves. Try as best you can to water directly onto the soil instead of splashing the blooms and foliage with water.

This is a good rule of thumb for many plants and flowers if you can help it.

Mums, like other plants, are susceptible to diseases like powdery mildew and fungus if exposed to too much moisture, so aim to keep the leaves dry by pointing your watering can or hose directly over the soil.

It’s crucial to water mums the correct way: always water the soil, never the foliage.

One other watering tip that’s helpful is to take the plant and dunk the root system into a large bucket of water for a few minutes. Do this the day you bring your mums home from the store.

The soil will soak up what it needs and you can water it again when the soil feels dry.

How to Keep Blooms Looking Fresh

Pruning is key to getting more blooms out of your potted mums and keep them looking fresh! It’s a very fast and easy process, too.

All you need to do in order to deadhead successfully is take your scissors or pruners and snip the dead blooms off directly where the bloom meets the stem.

White chrysanthemum flowers in full bloom.
White Chrysanthemums

Do this as soon as you see your blooms starting to wither and brown. Deadheading will help direct the plant’s energy away from keeping the dying bloom alive to creating new buds.

Easy Fall Decor Tips for Decorating with Chrysanthemums

Potted mums make the perfect decorative piece for porches, patios, balconies, and even inside the home. Yes – people actually keep their potted mums indoors!

Chrysanthemums that can be kept indoors are sold indoors at garden centers and they’re usually wrapped in foil lining and are meant to be given as gifts.

If you’re going this route, just make sure to keep your potted mum in an area that gets plenty of access to sunlight.

To decorate your porch with potted mums, you can go two routes: stick to one color to make a monochromatic statement, or choose a variety of colors to make a bold splash!

To complete the look, place some faux or real pumpkins next to the flowers, add some hay or straw stacks, put down a beautiful Fall welcome mat, and hang a Fall floral wreath on your door!


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