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What to Do With Mums in the Spring

Updated on July 2, 2017
SusanDeppner profile image

Susan loves caring for her home and family. In her articles she shares tips, reviews, and helpful information for other homemakers.

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Will My Chrysanthemums Ever Be Pretty Again?

Here's a picture of the mums I bought for our front porch last fall. Gorgeous! These pretty chrysanthemums served their purpose. We enjoyed their beautiful coral color every single day.

Then came winter. The flowers faded, and finally the blooms froze. At that point, I moved the two pots to the end of the porch and pretty much ignored them— until now. It's mid-April as I write this. What should I do with my mums now that it's spring?

It's Spring: Time to Prune My Mums

Mums After a Cold Winter, Ready for Pruning
Mums After a Cold Winter, Ready for Pruning

There's Life in Those Mums, If You Choose to Revive Them

First I want to state that I am NOT a gardener. I'd like to call myself a "lazy gardener," but that would be far too generous. Lazy yes, gardener no. I buy plants and do a bit of transplanting here and there, but that's about the extent of it (though I'm going to try to do better, I promise). So if you read anything on this page that goes against what you already know to be true, forgive me and leave a comment to set me straight.

My two Rosy Victoria Coral garden mums spent the winter freezing their pots off, sitting on the far end of the porch. Occasionally they'd get a little bit of rain and several times we had to rescue them after the wind blew too hard and the pots went flying off the porch.

So today, I was quite surprised that despite the neglect there were actually some rather wilted green leaves growing up from the bottom on both plants. The decision has been made— I'm going to try to get these babies growing again.

How to Revive Mums

  1. Prune all the dead parts down to the roots.
  2. Add a little fresh compost or fertilizer to the soil.
  3. Move the pot to the sun.
  4. Water thoroughly.
  5. Keep an eye on the plants and take extra care watering and watching for insects as the new growth establishes itself.
  6. As mums begin to grow through the spring and into summer, they're going to start producing buds. To get the most out of a mum, it's best to prune those buds, pinching them back until the time comes to let the plants develop new leaves, branches, and flowers. That way they'll look gorgeous next fall.

How to Revive Mums: Step-by-Step Photo Guide

Click thumbnail to view full-size
There's definitely green growth and leaves under all the dead stuff.I pruned the old stems off to reveal the new growth.Here's mum one after pruning. This one doesn't look too bad.Mum 2 after pruning: A good drink of water should work wonders.Potted mums, watered, in the sun. We'll be watching and caring for them.Just one week later! Wow, amazing how fast they're growing.About three weeks later, both plants are going strong.
There's definitely green growth and leaves under all the dead stuff.
There's definitely green growth and leaves under all the dead stuff.
I pruned the old stems off to reveal the new growth.
I pruned the old stems off to reveal the new growth.
Here's mum one after pruning. This one doesn't look too bad.
Here's mum one after pruning. This one doesn't look too bad.
Mum 2 after pruning: A good drink of water should work wonders.
Mum 2 after pruning: A good drink of water should work wonders.
Potted mums, watered, in the sun. We'll be watching and caring for them.
Potted mums, watered, in the sun. We'll be watching and caring for them.
Just one week later! Wow, amazing how fast they're growing.
Just one week later! Wow, amazing how fast they're growing.
About three weeks later, both plants are going strong.
About three weeks later, both plants are going strong.

Should You Try to Revive Mums or Throw Them Away?

There's no shortage of chrysanthemum sales around here in the fall. In fact, after a long, hot summer many people can't wait to get rid of their spent annuals and replace them with colorful potted mums, already blooming and beautiful.

Then there are those who nurture mums from year to year, letting the plants die off in the winter then pruning and caring for them through the summer, keeping them trimmed up so they'll be gorgeous again when cooler weather arrives.

What will you do?

They won't look like this next fall without some serious TLC this spring.
They won't look like this next fall without some serious TLC this spring.

Have Any Secrets to Beautiful Mums That You Care to Share? This Space is for You!

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    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 20 months ago from Arkansas USA

      How sweet of your dad! I'd rather receive a potted plant, such as mums, than cut flowers. Helps those memories last!

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 20 months ago from Canada

      My dad always bought my mom mums. They were beautiful and lived forever.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I hope you get them growing again, BarbRad. Maybe some fertilizer would help. Bet you could ask at the local garden center and get some good advice there!

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 2 years ago from Templeton, CA

      Thanks for posting this. I've just been wondering what to do with my mums. They are turning green again, but they are staying very close to the ground. They were miniature ones to start with, but not this miniature.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Sylvestermouse, sounds like I could learn a lot from you! Thanks so much for the visit and your comments!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 2 years ago from United States

      Mums are among my favorite flowers. I have one that is about 10, maybe even 15 years old that my brother gave me when he came to visit one year.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

      My thumb is sort of a neutral color, Margaret. I don't have much gardening talent, but I do enjoy trying - and I love mums! Thanks so much for stopping by and taking time to leave a comment!

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great tips, Susan! I've got the brown thumb in the family, but my husband enjoys gardening and I bet he'd love to know how to nurture some mums from his mom's always-thriving garden in our modest one. :)

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 4 years ago from Pittsburgh

      I enjoy the beautiful colors of mums and of course, always get one for my mom.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @SheilaMilne: Interesting to know!

    • SheilaMilne profile image

      SheilaMilne 4 years ago from Kent, UK

      I used to live in France and unfortunately I've picked up their idea that chrysanthemums are flowers of remembrance and for putting on graves. I do love them though because they last so well.

    • AcornOakForest profile image

      Monica Lobenstein 4 years ago from Western Wisconsin

      I love mums in the fall and always think about getting them but I usually just end up admiring other people's blooms.

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      DebMartin 4 years ago

      Delightful. You've inspired me. I have a mum on the porch that will get attention today.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @MBurgess: Thanks for the advice! The ones in the pictures are already getting big enough that I'm considering some trimming. I love this time of year when everything grows so well!

    • MBurgess profile image

      Maria Burgess 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      I love mums but I don't have room for them at this time. I think trimming them back and following the directions you have given here will keep them coming back year after year. Keep em watered and a shot of fertilizer now and then will help the plant survive bringing you new flowers come spring! Thanks for sharing!

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @liny-tan: I'll bet they're gorgeous, too!

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      liny-tan 4 years ago

      i have some mums in my small garden too but everyday is just the same the in the place where i live, we don't have snow. so my mums have just two choices: rain and sun. however, i deadhead all the spent flowers of mums to keep them beautiful and i also thin/prune them when they get overcrowded.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @katiecolette: Good to know that! I hope they keep coming back and making beautiful flowers!

    • katiecolette profile image

      katiecolette 4 years ago

      I really don't do much with the mums since I planted them in the ground - just trim down the old stems in late winter - early spring. I am a lazy gardener too, so I am very surprised that the mums have come back for two years in a row. In fact, my mums are doing pretty well :)

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @favored: I like that idea!

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      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      I have let my mums bloom in the summer and cut them so they rebloom in the fall, but most of the time I just trim off the tops so they won't bloom early. They make nice fillers for the summer among other flowering plants.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @Peachcobbler: That's the way I am most of the time, too.

    • Peachcobbler profile image

      Peachcobbler 4 years ago

      I love mums too. My old ones went straight to the garbage and I will look forward to buying new ones. I always plan to plant them in the ground but I just never seem to get around to it.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @SusanDeppner: It's a clever title!

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 4 years ago from Canada

      I don't even qualify as a lazy gardener anymore. I've abandoned the yard to Chris, who happens to like puttering. BTW, I loved your expression, "freezing their pots off."

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @anonymous: I'm sure there will be others who figure I'm talking about "moms." Could have spelled out Chrysanthemums, but I'm never sure I have that spelling right! :)

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      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @Joan4: You're not alone, Joan!

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      Joan4 4 years ago

      I love the mums - all of them, but have to admit I am not good at resurrecting them through the seasons!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I don't have 'Mum's' :)

      I do love them...Haven't had mums in a while...

      I have to laugh...when I read the title I thought it was going to be a page about what to do with mums on Mothers Day!

      The very fitting captcha here was 'sniffnose' that also made me giggle...

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @TreasuresBrenda: LOL Thanks, Brenda. I'm trying to get my Chris more interested in the gardening aspect of taking care of the lawn. Uphill battle!