Why Your Mums Look Like They’re Dying After It Rains

Why Your Mums Look Like They're Dying After It Rains

Chrysanthemums are a perfect way to signal the arrival of fall. These beautiful flowers come in orange, burgundy, and yellow colors, and they are not only easy to care for but also the most desirable fall flowers. However, when it rains, chrysanthemums may appear to die due to the water hitting the blooms.

To grow chrysanthemums, you need to ensure they have the basic essentials. These flowers require at least six hours of sunlight each day, and more is always welcomed. They thrive in well-drained soil that is rich in nutrients and well-fertilized. Chrysanthemums are strong plants that can withstand hot and cold temperatures, but they cannot survive frost.

Watering is critical when it comes to chrysanthemums. You need to find a balance since soil that is too dry or too wet can harm these plants. In general, chrysanthemums grow well when the soil is consistently moist. However, when the soil becomes too wet and soggy, either due to overwatering or rain, it can weaken the roots, causing the flowers to droop and decompose.

Rain can ruin your chrysanthemums’ color

Dying chrysanthemums

Vera Shcher/Shutterstock

It can be a big disappointment to wait until fall for your chrysanthemums to bloom in their beautiful colors, only to enjoy them for just a few days or weeks before the flowers start to look like they are dying off. You may notice that the shades are not as vibrant as they used to be, even appearing dull and faded.

If it has recently rained, that might be the reason. Rainfall literally washes away the flower’s color, especially if it continues over multiple days. Additionally, rain can lead to overwatering. For potted mums, it is important to ensure proper drainage. The pots should have at least one hole at the bottom to allow water to flow through the soil and out of the container.

It is also important to remember that when manually watering your mums, you should water them beneath their flowers. Let the water flow directly into the soil without wetting the foliage or roots. Although it may be easier to spray your mums with a hose or pour water over the top, ensuring that water only reaches the soil itself can help prolong their lifespan and promote their growth.

Mums can die from decay

Chrysanthemums on porch next to boots

Stephanie Frey/Shutterstock

The loss of color isn’t the worst outcome rain can cause for mums. When the flowers get inundated with water, they can become soggy for long periods, and they eventually begin to wither and die. They can also attract mold and mildew, which can be lethal for flowers.

Additionally, as the rain sprays down on the blooms, it simultaneously splashes fungus from the soil up onto both the flowers and foliage. You may think that since the sun comes out after the rain, it will do its job of drying out your flowers, which can sometimes help. However, if the temperatures are too hot, the leftover water on the petals can result in leaf scorch or sun-scald.

Consequently, if rain is forecasted for a few days, it is a good idea to provide your mums with a respite from the water. If you have potted mums, it’s ideal to keep them on a covered porch where you can protect them from both rain and scorching sun while also providing them with consistent light.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.