How To Plant Mums In Ground [ Full Guide ]

Mums, or chrysanthemums, are popular perennials known for their vibrant colors and hardiness. They are a beautiful addition to any garden and are relatively low-maintenance once established. Planting mums in the ground can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience, but it requires careful consideration of location, soil preparation, and timing. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to successfully plant mums in the ground, ensuring they thrive and bloom beautifully.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Mums In Ground

To plant mums in the ground, choose a location with well-drained soil and full sun exposure. Prepare the soil by amending it with organic matter and ensuring proper drainage. Select the right type of mums based on your climate and aesthetic preferences. Plant mums in the spring or early summer to allow their roots to establish before the colder months. Water the newly planted mums thoroughly and provide regular care to promote healthy growth and abundant blooms.

Selecting The Right Location

Selecting the right location for planting mums is crucial for their success. Mums thrive in locations with ample sunlight and well-drained soil. Ideally, choose a spot that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. When planting mums, avoid areas with dense shade or locations with poor drainage, as these conditions can lead to root rot and other issues.

It’s also essential to consider the mature size of the mums when selecting a location. Ensure that there is enough space for the mums to grow and spread without being overcrowded by other plants. Adequate air circulation around the mums helps prevent diseases and promotes healthy growth.

Furthermore, mums are sensitive to excessive moisture, so avoid planting them in low-lying areas or spots where water tends to accumulate after rainfall. To assess the drainage of the location, observe how quickly water is absorbed after a heavy rain or use a simple percolation test by digging a small hole and filling it with water to see how long it takes to drain.

Preparing The Soil

Preparing the soil is a crucial step in ensuring the successful establishment and growth of mums. Start by testing the soil pH, as mums prefer a slightly acidic to neutral soil ranging from 6.0 to 7.0. Home soil testing kits or professional soil testing services can provide accurate pH readings. Once the pH level is determined, necessary amendments can be made to achieve the optimal soil condition for mums.

Amending the soil with organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, improves its texture, fertility, and drainage. Work the organic matter into the soil to a depth of 12 to 18 inches using a garden fork or tiller. This not only enriches the soil but also aids in retaining moisture while allowing excess water to drain away efficiently.

In addition to organic matter, incorporating a balanced, slow-release fertilizer into the soil at the time of planting provides mums with the essential nutrients they need to establish strong roots and promote healthy growth. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the proper application of the fertilizer based on the soil test results and the specific needs of the mums.

Choosing The Right Type Of Mums

Choosing the right type of mums is essential to ensure they thrive in the chosen location and climate. Mums are available in various forms, including garden mums, florist mums, and specialty mums, each with distinct characteristics and growing requirements. When selecting mums for planting in the ground, consider factors such as hardiness, bloom time, and overall appearance.

Garden mums, also known as hardy mums, are the most suitable for planting in the ground as they are winter-hardy and capable of withstanding colder temperatures. They come in a wide range of colors and bloom shapes, making them a versatile choice for garden landscaping. Florist mums, on the other hand, are often used as indoor potted plants and may not be as cold-hardy as garden mums. Specialty mums encompass unique varieties selected for particular traits, such as unusual flower forms or growth habits.

Furthermore, when choosing mums, consider the local climate and the plant hardiness zone. Select mums that are recommended for the specific hardiness zone in which they will be planted to ensure they can withstand the local winter temperatures. Consult with local nurseries or gardening experts to determine the most suitable mums for the area.

Planting Time

The timing of planting mums in the ground is critical to their successful establishment and long-term vitality. In most regions, the optimal time to plant mums is in the spring, once the threat of frost has passed and the soil has warmed up. Planting mums in the spring allows them to develop strong root systems and acclimate to their new environment before the onset of winter.

If spring planting is not feasible, mums can also be planted in the early summer, provided there is sufficient time for them to establish themselves before the arrival of colder weather. Late summer and fall planting are generally discouraged, as the limited time for root development increases the risk of winter damage and reduces the chances of successful overwintering.

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When planting mums, space them according to their mature size to allow for adequate air circulation and prevent overcrowding. Dig planting holes that are slightly larger than the mums’ root balls to accommodate their growth. Gently loosen the roots of the mums before placing them in the planting holes to encourage outward growth and prevent them from becoming root-bound.

Position the mums at the same depth as they were in their original containers and backfill the holes with the amended soil, firming it gently around the plants. Water the newly planted mums thoroughly to settle the soil, eliminate air pockets, and provide essential moisture to support their initial growth.

Planting mums in the ground is a rewarding endeavor that can bring vibrant colors and visual interest to any garden. By carefully selecting the right location, preparing the soil, choosing suitable mums, and planting at the correct time, you can ensure the successful establishment and long-term health of your mums.

Remember to provide ongoing care for your mums, including regular watering, mulching, and occasional feeding, to support their growth and encourage abundant blooming. With proper planning and attention to detail, your mums will flourish and become a delightful focal point in your garden for years to come.

Digging The Planting Hole

Mums, also known as chrysanthemums, are beautiful and vibrant flowers that are often used to add color to gardens, landscapes, and flower beds. They are a popular choice for fall decorations due to their stunning array of colors and their ability to bloom late into the season. If you want to enjoy the beauty of mums in your own garden, it’s important to know how to properly plant them.

Before you can transplant your mums into the ground, you need to prepare the planting hole. The first step is to choose a suitable location. Mums prefer full sun, so select an area in your garden that receives at least six hours of sunlight per day. Make sure the soil is well-drained to prevent waterlogging, as mums don’t thrive in wet conditions.

To begin digging the hole, use a shovel or a garden fork to loosen the soil. The hole should be approximately twice the width of the plant’s root ball and about the same depth. This will provide enough room for the roots to spread and establish themselves in the ground.

Transplanting Mums

Once the planting hole is prepared, it’s time to transplant your mums into the ground. Begin by gently removing the plant from its current container or pot. Carefully loosen the roots with your fingers to encourage healthy growth. If the roots are tightly bound, you may need to use a gardening knife to make a few vertical cuts along the sides of the root ball.

Place the mum in the planting hole, ensuring that the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil. Backfill the hole with the soil you dug out, gently firming it around the plant to provide support. Avoid packing the soil too tightly, as this can restrict root growth and drainage.

After transplanting, water the mums thoroughly to settle the soil and eliminate any air pockets around the roots. This initial watering helps the plants establish themselves in their new environment.

Watering Techniques

Proper watering is essential for the health and success of your mums. Watering requirements may vary based on factors such as weather conditions and soil type, but here are some general guidelines to follow:

  • Initial Watering: After transplanting mums, water them deeply to ensure the entire root ball is moistened. This helps the roots settle and promotes healthy growth.

  • Regular Watering: Once the mums are established, they will require regular watering to keep the soil evenly moist. Avoid overwatering, as soggy soil can lead to root rot. Instead, aim to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.

  • Watering Frequency: In general, mums should be watered deeply once or twice a week, depending on weather conditions. Feel the soil with your finger to determine if it’s time to water. If the top inch of soil feels dry, it’s time to water.

  • Watering Methods: To avoid wetting the foliage and increasing the risk of fungal diseases, it’s best to water mums at the base of the plants. Use a soaker hose or a watering can with a spout to deliver water directly to the soil. This allows the roots to absorb the water efficiently.

Mulching Tips

Mulching is an effective technique to retain moisture in the soil, suppress weed growth, and regulate soil temperature. Applying a layer of organic mulch around your mums can help improve their overall health and longevity. Follow these tips when mulching your mums:

  • Timing: Apply mulch after planting and watering the mums. This allows the soil to retain moisture and helps the plants establish themselves before the colder months.

  • Mulch Material: Use organic mulch such as straw, wood chips, or shredded bark. This type of mulch breaks down over time, enriching the soil with nutrients.

  • Thickness: Apply a layer of mulch 2-3 inches thick around the base of the plants. Make sure to leave a small space around the stems to prevent moisture buildup and potential stem rot.

  • Mulch Maintenance: Periodically check the mulch layer and replenish it as needed. Over time, the mulch may decompose, so adding a fresh layer each year is beneficial for the plants.

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Fertilizing Guidelines

Proper fertilization can promote healthy growth, vibrant blooms, and overall plant vigor. Here are some guidelines to follow when fertilizing your mums:

  • Timing: Apply a balanced slow-release fertilizer in early spring or after the last frost. This will provide the plants with nutrients throughout the growing season.

  • Fertilizer Type: Look for a fertilizer with a ratio of equal parts nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), such as a 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 blend. This balanced formula ensures the plants receive the necessary nutrients for robust growth and vibrant blooms.

  • Application Rate: Follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging for the correct application rate. Generally, it’s best to use a quarter to a half cup of fertilizer per plant.

  • Application Technique: Sprinkle the fertilizer evenly around the base of the plants, keeping it away from the stems. Water the plants after applying the fertilizer to help the nutrients penetrate the soil.

  • Mid-Season Fertilization: If your mums are not performing as desired, a mid-season application of liquid fertilizer can give them a boost. Choose a fertilizer with a higher phosphorus content, such as a 5-10-5 blend, to promote flower production.

Planting mums in the ground can be a rewarding experience, bringing pops of color and beauty to your garden. Proper preparation and care ensure that your mums thrive and produce vibrant blooms. Remember to choose a suitable location, dig a proper planting hole, and transplant the mums carefully. Water the plants correctly, mulch to retain moisture, and fertilize to promote healthy growth. With these guidelines in mind, you can enjoy the beauty of mums in your garden for years to come.

Staking And Support

Mums, also known as chrysanthemums, are popular fall flowers that bring a splash of vibrant colors to gardens and landscapes. These hardy perennials are relatively easy to grow and can add a stunning display of blooms during the autumn season. To ensure your mums thrive and produce beautiful flowers, it is important to properly plant them in the ground.

Before planting mums in the ground, it is essential to consider their growth habit and provide support if necessary. Some mums, particularly the taller varieties, can benefit from staking to maintain an upright position and prevent them from flopping over, especially when they become top-heavy with blooms.

To stake your mums, begin by inserting stakes into the ground around the perimeter of the plant, ensuring they are evenly spaced. Avoid placing the stakes too close to the center of the plant, as this can interfere with root growth. As the mums grow, gently tie the stems to the stakes using soft, flexible plant ties. Be careful not to tie them too tightly to allow for stem expansion and prevent damage.

For added support, consider using a wire cage or a plant ring around the base of the mum. This will provide an extra layer of stability and prevent the stems from bending or breaking under the weight of the flowers. Make sure to install the cage or ring at the time of planting to avoid damaging the roots later on.

Pruning For Healthy Growth

Pruning is an important aspect of caring for mums, as it helps promote healthy growth, increased branching, and abundant flowering. While mums can tolerate a wide range of pruning styles, a common approach is to pinch them back several times throughout the growing season.

Pinching involves removing the top inch or two of the stems with your fingertips or using clean pruners. This should be done when the plants are around 6 to 8 inches tall. Pinching stimulates lateral bud development, resulting in a bushier and more compact plant. Repeat the process every few weeks until mid-summer or early August, allowing enough time for the plants to recover and form buds for fall blooming.

If you prefer a more formal and uniform mum shape, you can opt for a disbudding method. This involves removing all but the terminal bud from each stem to direct all energy into producing a single large flower. While this method sacrifices the quantity of blooms, it can result in larger and showier flowers.

In addition to regular pinching or disbudding, it is important to remove spent flowers to prevent the plant from expending energy on seed production. This process, known as deadheading, can be done by cutting the faded flowers back to the nearest lateral bud or leaf node. Not only does deadheading enhance the appearance of the plant, but it also encourages the growth of new buds and extends the blooming period.

Protecting Mums From Pests And Diseases

Like any other plant, mums are susceptible to pests and diseases that can hinder their growth and health. By taking preventive measures and being vigilant about early detection, you can keep your mums thriving and free from common issues.

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A common pest that affects mums is aphids. These small, soft-bodied insects feed on the sap of the plant, causing stunted growth and yellowing leaves. To control aphids, regularly inspect your plants and use a strong jet of water to dislodge them. Alternatively, you can use insecticidal soap or neem oil to treat infested plants. Be sure to follow the product instructions and apply the treatment in the early morning or late evening when beneficial insects are less active.

Another common pest is the mums’ nemesis, the spider mite. These tiny pests thrive in dry conditions and can quickly infest your plants. Signs of a spider mite infestation include stippled leaves, fine webbing between branches, and a general decline in the plant’s health. To combat spider mites, increase humidity around your mums by regularly misting them with water. Additionally, you can use insecticidal soap or horticultural oil to control the infestation.

Diseases such as powdery mildew and rust can also impact the health and appearance of your mums. Powdery mildew manifests as a white, powdery substance on the leaves, while rust appears as orange, powdery spores. To prevent these diseases, provide good air circulation by spacing your plants appropriately and avoiding overhead watering. If you notice signs of infection, remove and dispose of the affected plant parts and treat with a fungicide following label instructions.

Overwintering Mums

While mums are perennials, they may require some extra care to survive the winter and bloom again the following year. Proper overwintering techniques vary depending on the USDA hardiness zone in which you live. If you are unsure of your zone, refer to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map for guidance.

In colder regions (zones 3-6), it is recommended to provide winter protection for your mums. This can be done by applying a layer of mulch around the base of the plants in late fall, after the first hard frost. The mulch will insulate the roots and help maintain a more stable soil temperature throughout the winter. A thick layer of straw or shredded leaves can also be used as mulch. Be sure to remove the mulch in early spring to prevent excess moisture retention and potential rot.

In milder regions (zones 7 and above), mums may not require as much winter protection. However, it is still advisable to apply a layer of mulch to help conserve moisture and protect the roots from extreme temperature fluctuations. Additionally, make sure to select mums that are specifically labeled as suitable for your zone to ensure optimal winter survival.

Another consideration for overwintering mums is pruning. In late winter or early spring, before new growth emerges, prune back the dead stems and foliage to encourage strong regrowth. Cut the stems back to around 2-4 inches above ground level, removing any damaged or diseased parts. This will also help rejuvenate the plant and promote a compact, bushy habit.


Planting mums in the ground can provide a burst of color and beauty to your garden during the fall season. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your mums not only survive but thrive. Remember to provide adequate support, prune for healthy growth, protect from pests and diseases, and properly overwinter them. With a little care and attention, your mums will reward you with stunning blooms year after year.


What Is The Best Time Of Year To Plant Mums In The Ground?

The best time to plant mums in the ground is in the early fall, ideally 6-8 weeks before the first frost. This allows the roots to establish before winter and helps the plant survive the cold temperatures.

What Type Of Soil Is Best For Mums?

Mums grow best in well-draining, slightly acidic soil with a pH level between 6.0-6.5. Ideally, the soil should also be rich in organic matter.

How Much Sun Do Mums Need?

Mums thrive in full sun for at least 6 hours a day. However, they can tolerate some shade, but it may affect the plant’s growth and bloom production.

How Do I Prepare The Planting Site For Mums?

Start by clearing the area of any weeds or debris. Loosen the soil with a gardening fork and mix in some compost or other organic matter to improve drainage and provide nutrients for the plant.

How Should I Space My Mums When Planting In The Ground?

Mums should be spaced about 18-24 inches apart to allow enough room for them to grow and spread. This also helps prevent overcrowding and promotes good air circulation, which can prevent diseases.