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How to care for MUMS outside (and keep them blooming!)

Updated: May 1

Properly caring for mums will allow you to keep them blooming all season long. Whether you plan on keeping them indoors or outdoors, choose plants with lots of buds that haven't yet bloomed. This will help you enjoy these beautiful flowers even longer.

Much like indoor mums, planting outdoors or in the garden requires abundant sunlight. Be sure to plant your mums in well-draining soil; organic soil or compost will produce vigorous, healthy mums. Other essentials when caring for mums planted outdoors include:

  • Give mums plenty of space. It's wise to plant your mums about 18 inches from other plants, so their roots have room to expand.

  • Water, but not too much. Water beneath the foliage at the soil level, as watering the blooms and leaves can result in fungi. After the first week, water frequently, and ensure your mums get at least an inch of water per week.

  • Deadhead. As mentioned above, removing wilted blooms and dead stems or leaves helps your mums bloom for an extended time.

  • In colder climates, your mums may need to be mulched using leaves, wood chips, or straw. Mulch should be about 3 or 4 inches in depth and surround the entire base of your mums.

  • If frost gets to your mums, don't fret. Just prune them back until there's only about an inch of stems above the ground, and leave the mulch remaining around the plant. Come spring; your mums will regenerate with the warmer weather.

If you’re looking to take your garden and landscaping to the next level, The Grounds Guys can create a beautiful landscape design that incorporates your mums and other plants to transform your outdoor space!

How to keep mums blooming

Mums add a beautiful splash of color. When the plants are in full bloom, they’re ideal for brightening up weddings, late summer, or fall events. But they don’t often last beyond the fall season unless you know some of these tips to keep your mums blooming!

  • If you’re looking for mums that can last beyond fall, avoid purchasing any that are already flowering.

  • Choosing partial shade over full sun can extend the plant’s healthy look. Try placing your mums in a location such as underneath trees or a canopy of bushes. They also do well on porches and patios.

  • As we mentioned earlier, mums are thirsty plants. Don’t let them completely dry out. If they’re in pots, water them at least once a day!

  • The way you water mums plays a significant role in their blooming cycle. As thirsty as mums are, they don’t like to be saturated in water, so try watering around the edges of your container or pot.

  • If you want your mums to flower out of season, it can be done with a little garden trickery. Mums have their own form of circadian rhythm, which triggers them to bloom each fall when the days (and available sunlight) get shorter. Reducing the amount of exposure your mums get to sunlight can trick them into thinking the days are getting shorter and the nights longer, which can trigger them to bloom.

How to care for mums in the winter

If your mums are outdoor plants, the easiest way to ensure they stay alive through the winter is to bring them indoors. Of course, you can also winterize your garden mums by following these steps:

  • Prepare them by adding up to 4 inches of mulch, like straw or shredded hardwood, and placing it around the plants.

  • Clean up the plant by pinching off any dead blooms. Be sure to leave the branches intact.

  • Wait until spring to prune old stems.

  • Note: if you live in a frigid climate or if drainage is poor, your mums may not survive the winter.

Should you need help maintaining your landscaping, please contact Rooted In Nature today at 443-846-0199 or email

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