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Caring for Fall Mums

by Miguel Mori
Caring for Fall Mums

It has been a long, hot, dry summer and most of our summer containers are looking battle fatigued. Why not bring new life to your doorways this fall by adding mums along with annual and perennial grasses and plants to your containers?

To assist you in your Mum purchase and care process, please use the following instructions and contact our garden team for any additional questions or assistance.

Annual or Perennial

A study performed by Stanford University has shown that the effects of nature on those who take in 90 minutes of nature a day, reduce obsessive thoughts of worry, decreases the effects of depression, as well as reducing stress levels and improving happiness.

The Niagara region is incredibly fortunate to be the proud owner of some of the most beautiful parks and green spaces in southern Ontario, but sadly as reported by Environment Canada, Canadians spend as much as up to 90% of their time inside. We work at our job, we work on our homes, we work towards building assets and covet that elusive and undefinable destination of ‘success’.

While much diminished by technology and modernity, our need for nature can be traced back to the early nineteenth century, with the likes of Thoreau suggesting that “we need the tonic of wilderness”. Perhaps looking at our local parks and green spaces is a way for us to find success of a different ‘nature’, that of emotional success. According to a paper published by the Harvard Medical School, the benefits of being outside for as little as five minutes are quite amazing.

Benefits from being in a 'beautiful' environment

Determine whether or not you are going to transplant them to the garden and grow them as a perennial.
If growing them as perennials, make sure you choose hardy garden mums.
If planted in the garden they should survive the winter.
If using your potted mums as annuals or indoor plants, choose whatever plants you like.
Mums purchased from a florist (available all year) are usually not hardy. They will develop black leaves if exposed to temperature below 60° F, and should only be used in the house as they will not survive the winter.


Select mums with healthy green leaves and vigorous growth. Do not choose plants that look wilted or stressed.

Flower heads should be well-formed and undamaged with no signs of wilt.

Choose plants that have lots of closed or partially closed buds so you have an extended bloom time.


Water the mums regularly especially if the weather is warm or if kept indoors. Soak the mums until water runs out through the holes in the pot bottom.

Don't allow soil to dry out, as this will stress the plant.

Keep the soil slightly moist, and make sure the pot is never allowed to stand in water. Pots must have good drainage.

Fertilizing potted mum is not necessary when they are blooming. If you buy plants that are not blooming yet, feed them every other week with an all purpose fertilizer.

Keep mums in natural light or in the direct sun, whether indoors or out. They need plenty of sun for proper growth. Keep them away from night lighting, as this disturbs their flowering cycle.

Extend your bloom time by picking plants with many unopened buds rather than those with wide-open flowers.

Remove spent blooms as soon as they fade. Pluck them from the plant at the base of the flower. Leave on any buds, blooming flowers and leaves.

Keep indoor mums away from heat vents.


Mums can be planted in the fall or kept in the pot. Allow the mum plants to go dormant over the winter. Keep them outside once the blooms die, and mound the pots with dried leaves or garden refuse to prevent premature freezing.

Prune mums in the late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Cut back stems to about 12 to 18 inches or shorter for bushier plants.

Water mums in the spring as new growth begins and color returns to the plants.

Keep them well watered throughout the spring, fertilizing regularly for the first couple months and then ceasing fertilization once blooms are present.


Lack of flowers, buds are small or fail to open: may not be getting enough light

Black leaves: florist type mum was exposed to frost or cold temperatures

Yellow leaves: either too wet or receiving too much humidity

Gray, fuzzy leaves: could be fungus or mildew

If you have questions about your mums or creating your fall planters. Contact our Mori Gardens team, for fall arrivals, tips & tricks. We're here to assist in your garden needs from Dream to Enjoyment.

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