Chrysanthemums are perennial flowers that can survive winter in northern climates. Chrysanthemums bloom late in the season, so they will not be affected by cold temperatures as much as other plants. However, chrysanthemums may suffer from frost damage if left outside during the winter.
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Preparing Garden Mums for Winter
You just need to do a little work to get chrysanthemums ready for the winter. To guarantee the largest blooms next summer, there are a few things you should double-check.
Moms are perennial plants that bloom once a year (perennials). They bloom in the summer and gradually lose their pretty petals as fall and winter draw near.
Deadheading a plant is the best way to ensure it thrives the following season. As fall turns to winter, chrysanthemums need to have their remaining flowers picked off.
This may be alarming to a first-time gardener, but it aids the plant in producing its best growth the following year by preventing it from expending resources on flowers that will die as the weather turns cold.
Thus, despite the apparent contradiction, deadheading your plant benefits it. Keep in mind that the chrysanthemum will change color eventually. To put it simply, you’re assisting.
Work With Good Soil
The “foundation” of a flourishing plant is good soil. It’s best to use well-drained soil when planting ornamental flowers. You may not think much of it, but trust me, it matters greatly. Whether you plant your mums directly into the soil or a container, use a potting mix or soil drains quickly to avoid frost damage.
Choose Rich, Loamy Soil
Think carefully about where you put your business. The plant will be subjected to bitterly cold winds throughout the winter. Find a spot sheltered from the wind so they won’t have to endure the chill of the night outdoors. You should consider putting them in an area that isn’t too cold or hot or has a lot of split currents.
During the colder months, the plant will naturally die back, and its leaves will fall off. Don’t just let them sit there, or they’ll attract unwanted mold and insects. Dead plants should be pruned back and lopped off cleanly.
The length of the stems is between three and four inches from the soil’s surface. The only thing that should be visible is the bare stem. Markers can be placed to avoid trampling the plant unintentionally.
These older stems will become the parents of newer ones. The next year, a new stem will emerge from the ground and bloom. Cut them back, but not too much, or they won’t grow as much in the spring. Keep it at 8 inches or less, and you should be fine.
Your mums will benefit greatly from being shielded from winter cold by a layer of organic, high-quality plant mulch. Numerous mulch varieties are available, making it difficult to settle on just one. Keep it simple by surrounding the plant’s stem with a ring of organic straw mulch (roughly 6-8 inches deep).
Distribute it evenly by sprinkling it. Rocks or plants can prevent mulch from blowing away if you live in an area with high winds. Organic mulch should be spread out in a thick, even layer around the plant’s base and in all directions for the best results. When winter finally arrives, this will serve as a protective barrier against the chill. If you have dogs that dig or if there is a lot of wind, you may need to mulch your yard more frequently.
Leave the mulch on the ground until the following spring. If you want your plants to thrive in the coming season, you’ll need to dig out the mulch with a spade. Protect yourself from the chill by covering it up with leaves. In the absence of mulch, leaf litter can be used instead.
Mulch can be replaced by any leaf litter cleaned with fungi and mold. Wrapping the leaves around the mum’s stem will keep it toasty through the cold months.
The plant’s discarded leaves can be used as a blanket-like insulation measure. Mulch made from leaves is a great alternative to store-bought mulch.
Keep an Eye on the Thermostat
Check the forecast every week during the winter. Some nights may drop below freezing, so it’s a good idea to prepare by installing additional insulation.
Just remember to take it off once things warm up again. If you want your chrysanthemums to survive the winter, you’ll need to repeat this process regularly.
As low as 20°F (-6°C), these plants will continue to thrive. When the temperature drops below that mark, it’s time to start thinking about protecting the plant from the cold. It’s essential if you want your mum to survive the winter outside.
Overwintering Chrysanthemums in the Ground
When you get a mum from the store and bring it home, you should first repot it. This will help prevent the plant from becoming root bound and will also ensure that it receives optimal growing conditions.
Wherever you plant your mums, use soil that drains well. As a bonus, they thrive in diffuse sunlight. Wherever you decide to use the mum as a part of your autumnal decor, ensure those two things are there.
When using a store-bought mum as decor, you may want to leave it in its container. You could, however, decide to put it in the ground immediately.
If you give the plant what it needs, either choice is fine. If you plan on leaving the mum in a pot over the winter, you should get it into the ground about a month before your first frost.
The plant’s root system can then take hold. When you finally get around to planting your mum in the ground, remember to use a potting mix that drains well.
If you don’t drain the water around the plant, it will pool. Cooler temperatures will cause it to freeze around the plant’s roots, killing it.
It’s also preferable to plant the mum in a sheltered area, where it will be less exposed to the harsh winter winds. You might do this close to your house or a shed or even near some larger plants.
The arrival of frost will discolor the plant’s leaves. Let it take place. You should prune the plant again now that the foliage has naturally died.
Only two or three inches of the mum’s stem should be visible above ground after pruning.
Next year, look for new shoots to emerge from this area. There won’t be much new growth the following year if you don’t leave enough stem.
You won’t have to worry about the mother for a while. Please be patient while we wait for the ground to freeze. Once the ground has frozen, you can cover the plant with mulch.
The mulch is meant to stabilize the ground’s temperature so that it remains frozen throughout the winter. The mums will suffer the most damage from the repeated thawing and freezing of the soil around them if this does not happen.
In the spring, you can take the mulch off this perennial flower and give it the attention it needs until it blooms again in the late summer or early fall.
You have learned how to overwinter a mum in the ground. The next step is to learn how to do the same with a mum in a pot.
Overwintering Chrysanthemums in Pots
Container mums require a different approach to overwintering than ground-based varieties. When it comes to frost, mums planted in the ground fare better than those kept in pots.
Mums don’t fare well in pots because there isn’t enough soil to keep their roots warm. As a result, they are prone to becoming frozen.
You should bring your mums inside for the night when the nights become cooler in the fall. You’ll know it’s time to begin overwinter preparations when the cooler temperatures (around 32 degrees Fahrenheit) become a permanent fixture.
There’s a common misconception that once the weather turns cold, that’s when you need to get the mum into the ground. This is one of the worst possible choices you could make. Plant chrysanthemums a month before frost to ensure survival.
It won’t have time to get a good root system before it has to contend with the cold. Keep it indoors for its first winter in the container.
If you bring the plant indoors, now is the time to do some serious pruning. Only about two inches of the stem should protrude from the ground.
Then, select a cool, dark place to overwinter the plant. This could be anything from a basement to a basement closet to an unheated shed.
The plant will go dormant because of the reduced light and temperature. That’s the point of bringing containerized mums inside for the winter. The temperature should be lower than room temperature but never cold enough to cause the plant to freeze wherever you decide to store it.
When plants spend time indoors for the winter, they require occasional attention. The mum needs watering about once every two weeks.
You can tell if the soil is safe to walk on by sticking your finger in it. If your second knuckle feels dry, it’s time to water the plant.
The plant needs to wake up as soon as spring arrives. Hardening off the mum involves leaving it outside for short periods every day, beginning one week before the last frost. To return the plant to its natural outdoor environment, do this.
When frost danger has passed, you can decide whether to leave the mum in its pot or move it to the perennial garden.
The mum should be planted in well-draining soil that has been amended before being put into a perennial garden. After the long winter, the mum will be hungry.
But if you want to keep the mum in a pot, you’ll need to repot it into fresh soil and a new container. Having room to grow and access to nutrients benefits the plant will reap from this.
It’s also a good time to divide larger mums if that’s how you plan to plant them. Use a garden spade to cut the plant in half down the middle, all the way to the roots, if you have a particularly large mum.
Put the two saplings in fresh pots or a permanent garden bed. Follow these steps to successfully overwinter a mum in a pot.
A mum kept in a container requires the same annual overwintering care. Also, when the plants first start to flower in late summer, you should remove the flowers by pruning them. This will extend the plant’s blooming period, allowing you to enjoy its flowers well into the fall.
Most people have trouble maintaining their mums because they either buy the wrong kind of mum or don’t know when to mulch an inground mum or how to maintain a mum in a container.
This data should help you succeed with innovative gardening methods and save money in the long run.
Have fun tending to your mums, and may your abode blossom with beauty and color as a result of your efforts.