Q:

How do you care for a fall mum plant in a container?

A:

Quick Answer

Fall mums, Dendranthema x grandiflora, require relatively care as annuals and thrive with only sunlight and regular watering. You can also keep the flowers as perennials by protecting them from winter frost.

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Full Answer

If you're transplanting the mums into another container, immediately soak the transplanted mums. The soil should never be dry, and wilting or browning leaves are signs that the plant needs more water. Avoid splashing water on the foliage to prevent leaf disease.

Annual mums do not require fertilizing, but 5-10-10 fertilizer can stimulate growth in perennial mums. Apply the fertilizer once or twice a month during the warmer seasons.

To overwinter mums, allow the foliage to die off and then cut the plant down to a 1-inch stem. A protected area, such as a cold frame or shed, can shield the plant from frost damage, or you can bring the plant indoors. Six to 10 inches of mulch provide additional protection. The plants require less water in the winter, but you should still never allow the soil to dry out completely.

When the weather is warmer, you can move the plants back into the sunlight and remove the old stems. Pinching off new growth when the plant is 4 to 6 inches tall and again at 7 to 11 inches encourages branching and additional blossoms.

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