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How to Care for Mums

A bouquet of beautiful chrysanthemum flowers outdoors.
Savina Nataliia/Shutterstock.com

Fall mums—scientifically known as Chrysanthemums—are beloved autumn flowers that can add vibrant color to your garden or home. As the fall approaches, these lovely plants burst into bloom.

Whether you’re growing mums outdoors or nurturing them inside your home, learning how to take care of mums is essential to keeping them healthy and full of blooms. Today we’re talking all about how to care for mums (both indoor and outdoor) and spilling some tips to keep them happy.

How to Care for Mums Outdoors

Colorful chrysanthemums bloom on a flower bed in a garden.
Elena Koromyslova/Shutterstock.com

Keeping any plant happy just comes down to learning their needs and preferences. Fall mums can be quite happy in your outdoor flower garden as long as you pay attention to water, light, soil, and pruning.


Mums require consistent moisture to thrive, but they don’t thrive being waterlogged. Water them deeply under their foliage so you get the roots wet without getting the leaves and blooms soggy. Watering the blooms and foliage can quickly lead to fungi growth and disease.

Mums outdoors should receive at least an inch of water weekly.

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Make sure you water consistently every time when you have a reliable watering can for the chore.


The best gardening trick is balancing a plant’s sunlight needs properly.

Mums thrive in the sun. While saying “they can’t get enough of it” might be a stretch, they thoroughly enjoy at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day. When planting mums outdoors, make sure you choose a spot that gets plenty of light all day long.

Insufficient light can result in leggy growth and fewer blooms…or a dying mum.


Well-draining soil is crucial for mums’ health. They prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil with good drainage. Amending the soil with organic matter, such as compost, can improve drainage and fertility. Aim for soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0 for optimal growth.


Regular pruning is essential to maintain a compact and bushy shape for your mums outdoors. Deadheading flowers and plants can also help keep your plant healthier by removing wilted blooms, dead stems, and wilted leaves. This helps encourage new, healthy growth and keeps your mum blooming.

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Pruning shears belong in every gardeners toolbox.

How to Care for Mums Indoors

Beautiful potted chrysanthemum flowers and pumpkins on windowsill indoors.
New Africa/Shutterstock.com

While mums tend to thrive outdoors, they can also do well indoors when you learn how to provide for their needs. Make sure you give your mum indoors a pot that offers plenty of room for its roots.

Vanslogreen Plant Pots Indoor Self Watering Planters

Self-watering planters are a great way to make sure your indoor plants get consistent hydration.


Mums indoors require consistent moisture, similar to their outdoor counterparts. Proper pot mum care begins with keeping the soil evenly moist with a consistent watering routine so it doesn’t get dehydrated.

However, make sure you avoid overwatering, which can lead to root rot. To check soil moisture, stick your finger about an inch into the soil. If it feels dry, it’s time to water.


Provide your indoor mums with as much light as you can to help your plant grow. A sunny windowsill or a spot by a glass door is ideal for pot mum care. Rotate the pot periodically to ensure even growth, as mums tend to lean towards the light source.

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Keep your larger plants on a rolling caddy to make rotation easier.


Use a well-draining potting mix that retains moisture while allowing excess water to escape. A mix designed for flowering plants or a blend of peat moss, perlite, and compost can provide the right balance of nutrients and drainage. Make sure your pot has drainage holes in the bottom.


Regularly pinch back the tips of your indoor mum’s stems to encourage bushy growth and prevent legginess. Use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears. Remember to remove spent flowers to redirect the plant’s energy into producing new blooms.

It’s worth noting that a mum will only bloom once indoors, so plant yours outdoors once it’s done blooming so you can enjoy it again next year.

How to Get Mums to Bloom

A close-up of some orange mum blooms.

There are a few things you want to get right if you’re hoping to get a lot of blooms from your mum.


A dehydrated mum can’t bloom, so proper watering is essential for mum bloom production. As fall approaches, ensure your fall mums receive consistent moisture—at least once per week.

Hathdia Soil Moisture Meter

A moisture meter can help you stop guessing the moisture levels in your plants and know for sure when they need watering.


To promote growth and blooming, use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer on your mums. Apply the fertilizer every two to three weeks throughout the growing season, from early spring until buds begin to form. Reduce or stop fertilizing once buds are mature.


Applying a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or shredded leaves, around the base of your mums will help maintain soil moisture and regulate temperature. Mulch also acts as a protective barrier during colder months.

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One of the most popular options for mulch.


Maximizing flower production with mums comes down to pruning and deadheading. Pinching off the ends of your mum’s stems every couple of weeks helps them grow even more. Continue to pinch back the tips through the mum’s growing period to enjoy a fuller, flowering plant.

Learning how to take care of mums isn’t complicated. They’re a fairly low-maintenance plant with some specific needs. Meet them, and you’ll have yourself a healthy, happy plant.

Abbey Ryan Abbey Ryan
Abbey Ryan is a storyteller, preferably of stories in written form. Across the 5 years of her professional writing career, her work has been featured in The Chicago Tribune, Amazon, The Medical News Today, and more. When she's not writing (which is rare), she's likely traveling, painting, or on the hunt for a good snack. Read Full Bio »
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