How To Plant Mum [ Full Guide ]

Mums, also known as chrysanthemums, are popular perennial flowering plants that come in a diverse range of colors and shapes. These hardy and vibrant flowers are a lovely addition to any garden, and they can also be potted for display on porches and patios. To ensure the healthy growth of mums, it’s essential to plant them correctly and provide the right conditions for their development. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of planting mums, from selecting the ideal location to timing the planting for optimal results.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Mum

  1. Choose the right location: Select a spot with well-drained soil and full sunlight for at least 6 hours a day.
  2. Prepare the soil: Amend the soil with organic matter and ensure it has good drainage.
  3. Select and purchase mum plants: Choose healthy, well-established mum plants from a reputable nursery or garden center.
  4. Timing the planting: Plant mums in spring after the danger of frost has passed or in early fall, allowing ample time for them to establish roots before winter.
  5. Planting procedure: Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball, place the mum plant, and backfill with soil. Water thoroughly.

Now, let’s delve deeper into each of these steps to understand the nuances and best practices for planting mums.

Choosing The Right Location For Planting Mums

Selecting the right location is crucial for the successful growth of mum plants. These flowers thrive in areas with ample sunlight and well-drained soil.

Sunlight Requirements

Mums flourish in full sunlight, which means they need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. When choosing a location, look for spots in your garden that receive abundant sunlight throughout the day. South-facing areas often provide the ideal conditions for mums, as they receive the maximum sunlight exposure.

Soil Drainage

Good drainage is paramount for the health of mum plants. They do not tolerate waterlogged soil, as it can lead to root rot and other complications. To test the drainage of a potential planting site, perform a soil percolation test. Dig a hole about 1 foot deep and wide, fill it with water, and observe how long it takes to drain. If the water drains within a few hours, the soil has good drainage.

If your garden soil doesn’t have adequate drainage, consider planting mums in raised beds or containers filled with well-draining soil.

Preparing The Soil For Mum Planting

Once you’ve chosen a suitable spot for planting mums, it’s essential to ensure that the soil provides the necessary nutrients and drainage for the plants to thrive.

Soil Amendment

Before planting, amend the soil with organic matter to improve its texture, fertility, and drainage. Incorporate compost, well-rotted manure, or peat moss into the soil to enhance its structure and nutrient content. Organic matter also aids in retaining moisture, which can be particularly beneficial during dry periods.

Soil Ph

Mums prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH range between 6.5 and 7.0. Test the soil pH using a soil testing kit available at garden centers or through a local agricultural extension office. If the soil pH is below the recommended range, you can raise it by adding lime. Conversely, if the pH is too high, amend the soil with elemental sulfur to lower it.

Soil Drainage Improvement

In addition to amending the soil with organic matter, ensuring proper drainage is essential. If the soil at your chosen location has poor drainage, consider incorporating sand or perlite to improve its drainage properties. Alternatively, raised beds or containers filled with well-draining soil can offer a controlled environment for mum plants to thrive.

Selecting And Purchasing Mum Plants

Choosing healthy and robust mum plants is critical to their successful establishment and growth in your garden. When purchasing mum plants, consider the following factors to ensure you’re getting high-quality specimens.

Selection Criteria

Look for mum plants that exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Healthy Foliage: Inspect the leaves for signs of discoloration, spots, or wilting. Healthy mum plants should have vibrant green foliage without any blemishes.
  • Strong Stems: Check that the stems are sturdy and free from damage or bending.
  • Buds and Flowers: While it’s not necessary for mum plants to be in bloom at the time of purchase, look for healthy buds and avoid plants with wilting or damaged flowers.

Reputable Sources

Purchase mum plants from reputable nurseries, garden centers, or certified growers. These sources are more likely to offer well-cared-for plants that are less susceptible to diseases and pest infestations.

Plant Condition

Inspect the overall condition of the plants. Avoid specimens that appear overly root-bound or show signs of stress, such as drooping foliage or withered stems.

Timing The Planting Of Mums

To give your mum plants the best chance for healthy growth, it’s crucial to time their planting appropriately, taking into account the local climate and seasonal conditions.

Planting In Spring

In regions with cold winters, it’s advisable to plant mums in the spring, after the danger of frost has passed. This timing allows the plants to establish their root systems and acclimate to their new environment before the onset of winter. Aim to plant them early in the spring to provide ample time for root development.

Planting In Fall

In milder climates, planting mums in the fall is an ideal option. Early fall planting gives the plants an opportunity to establish their roots before winter, ensuring they are well-prepared to resume growth when spring arrives. To protect newly planted mums from potential frost, consider using a layer of mulch to insulate the soil and conserve moisture.

Establishing Roots

Regardless of the timing, allowing sufficient time for mum plants to establish their roots before facing harsh weather conditions is pivotal for their survival and continued growth. By providing enough time for root development, you set the stage for vibrant and resilient mums in the upcoming growing seasons.

Successfully planting mum plants involves careful consideration of various factors, including the planting location, soil preparation, plant selection, and timing. By choosing a sunny, well-drained location, amending the soil with organic matter, selecting high-quality mum plants, and timing the planting appropriately, you can set the stage for the healthy growth and abundant blooms of these vibrant perennials. With proper care and attention to the planting process, your mums are likely to thrive and grace your garden with their colorful and captivating flowers for years to come.

Proper Spacing And Arrangement Of Mum Plants

Mums, also known as chrysanthemums, are beautiful flowering plants that add vibrant colors to any garden or landscape. They are popular choices for fall displays and are often used as potted plants or in flowerbeds for seasonal decoration. If you’re looking to add mums to your garden, it’s important to know the proper techniques for planting and caring for them to ensure their health and longevity.

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Before you start planting mums, it’s essential to consider the appropriate spacing and arrangement of the plants. Proper spacing allows for good air circulation and prevents overcrowding, which can lead to disease and poor growth. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Choose the right location: Mums prefer full sun to partial shade. Look for a spot in your garden that receives at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Ensure that the soil is well-draining, as mums do not tolerate soggy conditions.

  2. Measure and mark: Measure the width of each mum plant at the mature size, which can vary depending on the cultivar. Most mums require about 2-3 feet of space, so mark the planting spots accordingly.

  3. Arrange in a grid: For a formal look, plant your mums in a grid pattern. Place them equidistant from each other, ensuring the recommended spacing between plants. This helps create a well-organized display and allows each plant to receive adequate sunlight and airflow.

  4. Consider variations in height: If you have mums of different heights, arrange them accordingly to create visual interest. Place taller varieties towards the back and shorter ones towards the front, creating a tiered effect.

Taking the time to plan and space your mum plants correctly will result in a visually pleasing and well-organized arrangement.

Digging And Planting Mum Transplants

Once you have determined the ideal spacing and arrangement for your mums, it’s time to dig and plant the transplants. Follow these steps for successful planting:

  1. Prepare the soil: Before planting, ensure that the soil is well-prepared. Remove any weeds or debris from the planting area. Incorporate organic matter, such as compost, into the soil to improve its fertility and drainage.

  2. Dig the planting hole: Dig a hole that is slightly wider and as deep as the root ball of the mum transplant. Make sure the hole is large enough to accommodate the roots without crowding or bending them.

  3. Remove the transplant from its container: Gently tap the sides and bottom of the container to loosen the roots. Carefully slide the mum transplant out of the container, being cautious not to damage the root system.

  4. Plant the mum: Place the mum transplant into the prepared hole, ensuring that the top of the root ball is level with or slightly above the surrounding soil. Backfill the hole with the excavated soil, firming it gently around the roots to eliminate air pockets. Avoid compacting the soil excessively, as this may hinder root growth.

  5. Water thoroughly: After planting, water the mum thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots. Providing adequate moisture at this stage promotes root establishment.

Watering Newly Planted Mums

Proper watering is essential for the successful establishment and growth of newly planted mums. Follow these guidelines to ensure their hydration needs are met:

  1. Monitor soil moisture: Mums require consistent moisture, especially during the initial stages of growth. Check the soil regularly to determine its moisture level. Stick your finger about an inch into the soil; if it feels dry at this depth, it’s time to water.

  2. Deep watering: When watering, aim for deep, thorough wetting of the soil. Shallow watering can result in shallow root growth. Apply water at the base of the plants, avoiding wetting the foliage. Use a watering can or a hose with a gentle spray nozzle to prevent causing damage.

  3. Avoid overwatering: While mums appreciate consistent moisture, they do not tolerate soggy conditions. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other fungal diseases. Ensure that the soil has adequate drainage and only water when necessary.

  4. Mulch to retain moisture: Applying a layer of organic mulch around the base of your mum plants can help retain soil moisture, reducing the frequency of watering. Mulch also helps regulate soil temperature and prevents weed growth. Use materials like wood chips, straw, or bark mulch and maintain a layer about 2-3 inches thick.

Remember that the watering needs of mums may change as they establish and mature. Adjust your watering schedule based on the weather conditions and the specific requirements of the cultivar.

Mulching Around Mum Plants

Mulching is a beneficial practice for mum plants, as it helps conserve moisture, suppresses weed growth, and enhances the overall aesthetics of your garden. Here are some important points to consider when mulching your mums:

  1. Timing: Apply mulch around your mum plants after they are established and the soil has warmed up in the spring. This will help retain soil moisture and regulate temperature during the hot summer months.

  2. Prepare the area: Before mulching, remove any weeds or grass from the base of your mum plants. This will prevent competition for nutrients and ensure that the mulch covers the entire planting area.

  3. Select the right mulch: Choose an organic mulch like wood chips, straw, or bark mulch. These materials gradually break down over time, adding nutrients to the soil. Avoid using materials like rubber mulch or stones, as they can retain heat and hinder water penetration.

  4. Apply the mulch: Spread a layer of mulch around the base of your mum plants, ensuring that it covers the entire root zone. Maintain a thickness of around 2-3 inches, taking care not to pile it up against the stems or create a "mulch volcano," which can lead to rot.

  5. Replenish the mulch: Over time, the mulch will break down and decompose. Monitor the thickness of the mulch layer and replenish it as needed, usually once a year in the spring.

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Mulching not only helps protect the roots of your mum plants from temperature extremes but also adds an attractive finishing touch to your garden beds.

Fertilizing Mum Plants For Healthy Growth

Proper fertilization is essential for promoting healthy growth and vibrant blooms in mum plants. Here are some guidelines to follow when fertilizing mums:

  1. Choose the right fertilizer: Select a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Look for a formulation with an NPK ratio of 10-10-10 or 20-20-20. These nutrients are necessary for overall plant health, root development, and flower production.

  2. Schedule fertilization: Apply a slow-release fertilizer or organic compost to the soil in the early spring before new growth begins. This will provide a steady supply of nutrients throughout the growing season. Additionally, supplement with a water-soluble fertilizer every two to four weeks during active growth.

  3. Follow package instructions: Read and follow the instructions provided on the fertilizer packaging, as the dosage and application frequency may vary among products. Over-fertilizing can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of flower production.

  4. Water after fertilization: After applying fertilizer, water the mum plants thoroughly. This helps dissolve the nutrients and prevents the roots from being burned by concentrated fertilizer.

  5. Stop fertilizing before winter: Cease fertilization in late summer or early fall to allow the mum plants to harden off before winter. This helps ensure their winter survival and prepares them for dormancy.

By providing the right nutrients at the appropriate times, you can ensure that your mum plants grow vigorously, produce abundant flowers, and remain healthy throughout the growing season.

Planting mums adds a burst of color and beauty to your garden, especially during the fall season. By following the proper techniques for spacing and arrangement, digging and planting, watering, mulching, and fertilizing, you can ensure the successful cultivation and longevity of your mum plants. Remember to provide adequate sunlight, water consistently, mulch to retain moisture, and fertilize appropriately for healthy growth and vibrant blooms. With these guidelines, you can enjoy the stunning display of mums in your garden or landscape for years to come. So go ahead and plant those mums, and witness the magic they bring to your outdoor spaces.

Controlling Pests And Diseases In Mum Plants

Mums, also known as chrysanthemums, are beautiful flowering plants that bring vibrant colors to gardens and landscapes. They are a popular choice for many gardeners due to their hardiness and ability to thrive in various growing conditions. Planting mums may seem like a simple task, but there are important factors to consider to ensure their successful growth and development.

One of the essential aspects of mum plant care is controlling pests and diseases. Several pests can harm mum plants, including aphids, slugs, whiteflies, and spider mites. To prevent infestations, it’s important to regularly monitor your plants and take immediate action when signs of pests are detected.

  • Aphids: These small insects can cluster on the leaves and flowers, sucking the plant sap and causing stunted growth. To control aphids, you can use insecticidal soap or spray them off with a strong stream of water. Ladybugs also feed on aphids and can help control their population naturally.

  • Slugs: Slugs are nocturnal pests that feed on the leaves of mum plants, leaving ragged edges and holes. To deter slugs from damaging your plants, use organic slug control methods such as diatomaceous earth or beer traps. Diatomaceous earth is a natural substance that dehydrates slugs when they come into contact with it. Beer traps can be created by placing small containers filled with beer near your plants. Slugs are attracted to the beer and will drown in the liquid.

  • Whiteflies: These tiny, winged insects feed on the underside of mum leaves and suck out plant juices. Whiteflies are challenging to control, but you can reduce their population by using yellow sticky traps, applying neem oil, or releasing beneficial insects like parasitic wasps that prey on whiteflies.

  • Spider Mites: Spider mites are tiny pests that attack the mum plants, causing yellowing and mottling of leaves. To control spider mites, regularly spray your plants with a strong stream of water to dislodge them. You can also use insecticidal soap or neem oil as a natural remedy against spider mites.

In addition to pests, mum plants are also prone to certain diseases, such as powdery mildew and botrytis blight.

  • Powdery Mildew: Powdery mildew appears as a white powdery coating on the leaves and stems. To prevent powdery mildew, provide adequate spacing between plants to promote air circulation, avoid overhead watering, and apply fungicides labeled for powdery mildew control if necessary.

  • Botrytis Blight: Botrytis blight, also known as gray mold, causes brown spots and fluffy gray growth on flower petals and leaves. To prevent botrytis blight, remove any dead or decaying plant material and avoid overhead watering that can promote moisture on the foliage. Fungicidal sprays can also be used, following the label instructions for application.

Regularly inspecting your mum plants and taking prompt action when pests or diseases are detected is crucial for maintaining their health and vitality.

Pruning And Deadheading Mum Plants

Pruning and deadheading are important practices to promote healthy growth and prolong the blooming period of mum plants. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Pruning: Pruning mum plants should be done in early spring or late winter before new growth begins. Start by removing any dead or damaged stems down to the base of the plant. Next, prune back any excessively long or leggy stems to encourage a compact and bushier growth habit. Aim to achieve a balanced shape by evenly trimming the plant. Avoid pruning after mid-summer, as this can disrupt the flower bud development.

  • Deadheading: Deadheading refers to the removal of spent flowers to encourage further blooming. As soon as a flower starts to fade, use a pair of clean garden shears or scissors to cut off the flower stem just above a growth node or leaf. By removing the spent flowers, you redirect the plant’s energy towards new bud formation and extending the blooming period.

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Regular pruning and deadheading will help keep your mum plants tidy, encourage branching, and ensure a profusion of colorful blooms throughout the season.

Overwintering Mums For Next Year’s Growth

In colder regions, mums may not survive the winter if left outdoors. However, with proper care and overwintering techniques, you can ensure their survival for the following year. Here’s what to do:

  • Timing: Begin preparing your mum plants for overwintering when the blooming period is over, usually in late fall or early winter.

  • Cutting back: Trim the stems of your mum plants to about 6 inches above the ground. This will help to prevent snow or ice damage and make the plant more compact for winter storage.

  • Mulching: After cutting back the stems, apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the mum plants. This will help insulate the roots and protect them from freezing temperatures. Suitable mulch materials include straw, leaves, or wood chips.

  • Covering: To provide additional protection against extreme cold, cover the mum plants with burlap or a frost cloth. This will create a barrier to retain heat and prevent frost damage. Ensure that the covering is secure and does not touch the foliage directly.

  • Storage: If you prefer, you can also dig up your mum plants and store them indoors for the winter. Carefully dig up the plants, keeping the root ball intact. Shake off any excess soil and place the mum plants in a cool, dark location such as a basement or garage. Keep the plants watered occasionally to prevent them from drying out.

By following these overwintering techniques, you can safeguard your mum plants and ensure their survival for the next growing season.

Tips For Successful Mum Plant Care And Maintenance

To maximize the growth and blooming potential of your mum plants, here are some additional tips to consider:

  • Light requirements: Mums thrive in full sun or partial shade. Ensure your plants receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day for optimal growth and flowering.

  • Soil quality: Mums prefer well-draining soil with good organic matter content. Ensure the soil is loose and fertile, with a pH level between 6.5 and 7.0. If your soil is heavy and clay-like, amend it with compost or organic matter to improve drainage.

  • Watering: Proper watering is essential for mum plants. Keep the soil consistently moist but not overly saturated. Water deeply at the base of the plants, avoiding overhead watering that can promote disease development.

  • Fertilization: Apply a balanced slow-release fertilizer in early spring when new growth begins. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application rates. Additionally, you can supplement with liquid fertilizer every four to six weeks during the growing season to promote healthy growth and abundant flowering.

  • Staking: Some mum varieties may require staking to support their tall and heavy flower heads. Use stakes or tall plant supports to prevent the stems from drooping or breaking.

  • Dividing: Over time, mum plants can become overcrowded and lose their vigor. Every three to four years, consider dividing the plants in early spring to rejuvenate them. Carefully dig up the clumps, separate them into smaller divisions, and replant them in well-prepared soil.


Planting and caring for mum plants requires attention to detail and adherence to proper practices. By controlling pests and diseases, pruning and deadheading, overwintering, and following essential care tips, you can enjoy vibrant mum blooms in your garden year after year. Remember to monitor your plants regularly, provide suitable growing conditions, and take action promptly to address any issues that may arise. With proper care, your mum plants will reward you with stunning displays of color and beauty.


What Type Of Soil Should I Use When Planting Mums?

Mums prefer well-draining soil that is slightly acidic with a pH of 6.5-7.0. You can amend your soil with compost or peat moss if necessary.

When Is The Best Time To Plant Mums?

The best time to plant mums is in the spring after all danger of frost has passed, or in the fall at least 6 weeks before the first expected frost date.

How Much Sunlight Do Mums Need?

Mums require at least 6 hours of full sun per day, but they can tolerate partial shade in hot climates.

How Often Should I Water My Newly Planted Mums?

Newly planted mums should be watered deeply 2-3 times per week, depending on the temperature and moisture levels in your area. Make sure not to overwater as this can lead to root rot.

How Should I Prepare The Planting Area For My Mums?

Choose a location that receives adequate sunlight and has well-draining soil. Remove any weeds or debris from the area and loosen the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches. You can also add a layer of mulch to help retain moisture and prevent weeds from growing.