The Biggest Mistake You’re Making With Your Mums Involves Water

The Biggest Mistake You're Making With Your Mums Involves Water

The Biggest Mistake You’re Making With Your Mums Involves Water

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For many gardeners, chrysanthemums are the perfect fall flower. With their traditional orange-gold petals, they can create a stunning landscape whether planted in pots on your porch or directly in your garden. Chrysanthemums are versatile and come in various additional colors, including white, yellow, lavender, purple, and red. This versatility allows them to be used for numerous occasions.

Chrysanthemums can also be cultivated in containers inside the home but make sure to keep them away from pets since the compounds in them are poisonous to cats and dogs. Incidentally, these same compounds make mums a great insect repellent. The pyrethrin in chrysanthemums helps keep irritating pests away, including ants, Japanese beetles, roaches, bed bugs, spider mites, and ticks.

Whether you plant mums for their beauty or their utility, as low-maintenance plants, they don’t require a lot of upkeep. However, it’s still possible to make mistakes with your mums, especially when it comes to proper hydration. If you notice that your mums are looking less than stellar, it may be the watering process that is going awry.

Mums need sufficient water throughout all seasons

person watering pink chrysanthemums

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While chrysanthemums don’t require an extraordinary supply of water, they do need just the right amount, and that can be easier said than done. This is where one of the biggest watering mistakes comes into play. Mums can start blooming anywhere from late spring to early fall. Early blooms in the spring can be a byproduct of cool temperatures. Chrysanthemums prefer cooler temperatures, and early summer blooms where it’s very hot will require a lot more water than fall blooms. During the heat of the summer, mums typically need to be watered every day.

However, since most people plant mums in the fall, which is a good idea because they thrive in cooler weather, they don’t need to be watered daily, except during any unusual hot stretches. When less watering is needed, it’s easy to forget to water the plants. The thinking may be that they can go longer and longer without water when temperatures dip, but that can easily lead to your mums not getting enough hydration.

When to water chrysanthemums during cold weather

Chrysanthemums on the porch in fall weather

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No matter how cool the fall temperatures get, chrysanthemums still need water all the way up until the weather reaches freezing. Even though they will receive less sun, which is not as strong and does not stay out as long, watering helps the necessary nutrients travel between the plant and soil and also helps photosynthesis occur.

You will know your mums need to be watered by feeling the soil. Simply stick a finger or two in the soil, and if the top layer feels dry, it needs water. To keep them in the best possible shape, add fertilizer to the water to boost them with extra nutrients. Another way to ensure mums get enough water is to make sure you water the soil instead of the flowers. Additionally, you can add a saucer or tray to the bottom of potted plants so that the water that drains out can be reabsorbed.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.