Mums may be protected from the elements and kept alive over the winter.
Gardeners often mistakenly treat mums (also known as Chrysanthemums) as annuals because of the common misconception that they are only fussy perennial.
These autumnal beauties, the mom, will return year after year with a little TLC during the winter.
Keep reading to find out more about mums and how to winterize them.
Winter Care for Mums
The process of preparing mums for the winter begins with planting them. Make sure the soil where you plant your mums drains well.
The ice that accumulates around the roots of plants in water-retentive soil is often the cause of their demise, rather than the cold itself.
Overwintering mums need soil and good drainage.
When planting your mums, it’s a good idea to do it in a spot that’s protected from the harsh winter winds that can threaten their survival.
Next, insulate your mums for the winter in the fall.
After a couple of strong frosts have hit your location, the plant’s leaves will die back and become brown. When the plant’s foliage has died, you should prune it.
The mums’ stems should be trimmed to around 8 to 10 cm (3 to 4 inches) from the ground.
For a fuller plant the following year, leave a few stems uncut. New stems will develop from the remaining pieces. Cutting the mums all the way to the ground will result in fewer flowers and stalks the next year.
After the earth has frozen, a thick layer of mulch should be applied over the mum plant in order to protect it throughout the winter. Mulch made of straw or leaves can be used to protect mums over the winter.
Mulch acts as a sort of insulation for the soil. It’s an interesting concept because it’s meant to help keep the ground frozen in the winter.
More damage is done to the plant when the ground freezes and thaws several times during the winter than when it remains frozen throughout the season.
Following these simple procedures will increase the likelihood that your mums will survive the winter and continue to supply you with beautiful blooms throughout the following year.
If you know how to winterize your mums, you won’t have to buy new plants every year, saving you both time and money.
When to Plant
Those bright and oh-so-affordable pretties beckoning from the fall store shelves are hard to ignore.
Plants can be kept in the ground all year if they are put in during the spring, but this is not the case if you want to harvest from them throughout the winter.
It’s possible that your magnificent mums won’t make it through the winter if you plant them in the fall.
It doesn’t help that you probably bought a plant when it was already fully colored and when it was spending all its energy on creating beautiful flowers rather than establishing a strong root system.
If you received or bought any hardy mums in the fall, you should bring them indoors for the winter. If you want to wait until spring to plant them, you can.
In addition, whether you intend to keep your new mums in pots or finally plant them in the ground, you will need to report them by removing them from the container in which they were originally purchased.
Some commercial gardeners purposely allow their plants to become rootbound so that they can spill out of their containers and give the impression that they are thriving.
You can plant your mums in the late summer or early fall if you reside in a warmer climate with moderate winters, in USDA Hardiness Zones 8 and above.
However, remember that planting in the spring still provides the greatest conditions for plant growth and development.