Mum Planting Guide

Mum Planting Guide

If you’re received some of our mum plants, yay! In addition to supporting our family farms and American Grown Flowers, you’re on your way to some truly amazing fall flowers. Our heirloom mum crop is a seasonal show-stopper and includes sought-after mum varieties that we’ve been collecting for years. Use the instructions below to pamper your plants until the last frost passes and then plant them in your beds or containers for a colorful addition to your fall landscape!

Heirloom mums can be tender perennials returning year after year if they’re planted in the correct zone and at the right time which is in early spring, or in the fall at least six weeks before a killing frost. 

To determine your growing zone, checkout the USDA’s Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

Mums are a photoperiodic plant, meaning they only bloom when the days offer a specific amount of light. Mums usually start to show buds when the nights last around 10 hours, and blooms will start six to 10 weeks after.

In some areas, bloom times my be after the threat of killing frost. If you're located in an area that has an early frost, we recommend planting the mums in portable containers so they can be moved indoors as needed. Knowing the growing zone specific to your geographic location will help you in planning how to enjoy these fall beauties.

Receiving Your Plants

  • When you receive your plants, you’ll notice each one is tagged with the variety. You can use plant markers to keep them labeled throughout their life, or make it a surprise. It’s totally up to you!
  • To get started, you’ll want to grab some pots that are at least twice the size of your plug. We recommend a quart sized container to begin (you can put them in larger containers when they’re moved outside.) You can get some plastic ones from your local garden center or, checkout these from Amazon.
  • Remove the plants from their transport baggies.
  • Fill each container with all purpose potting soil, and plant each mum covering the entire root ball up to the neck of the first leaves. Keep all green parts above the soil so they can continue to grow and flourish. 
  • Lightly tamp the soil around the plant to secure it in place keeping in mind initial waterings may wash away the top layer of soil.
  • Keep your plants in an area that won’t go below 45 degrees and has indirect sunlight. 
  • Water lightly every few days. Check the soil moisture with your finger daily. The soil should be moist to the touch and not soggy. 
  • Once the threat of frost has passed for your specific zone, your mums will be ready to plant! 

Planting Your Mums

  • When it’s time to plant, find a nice sunny area for your mums to spend the summer.
  • Plant each mum so that the root ball is totally covered and the foliage is above the surface. 
  • Be sure to water your mums frequently. Because they have a shallow root system, they tend to dry out very quickly. 
  • They can live permanently in your flower beds, but may require late fall protection to enjoy the full show depending on your growing zone. If you don’t want to risk it, plant them in three gallon pots (or larger) so that can be moved indoors prior to the first frost.

On-Going Care and Tips

  • Pruning your mums can help them grow larger, but you have to be careful. If you prune them after early July, you get really short flowers! Remove the tips of the stems early in the season to encourage branching and repeat this process every two-three weeks.
  • Remove dead foliage at the end of the season. New growth starts from the root, so cut them down pretty short after the frost has it’s way with them. You’ll want them about as short as they were when you received them from the farm. 
  • As your mum crop grows, you’ll need to divide them to give them more room to breathe.

Bloom Times

Mums bloom at different times in the fall based on the variety. Though actual bloom dates are dependent upon growing zone, weather, and overall plant care, there are generalized bloom windows for each variety.