The flowers can also be used for floral arrangements. “As cut flowers, they are one of the longest-lasting ones. A week after they are cut and put in a vase, they will remain fresh,” Brandt explains. Another reason mums are so popular is when most of your summer flowers are on their last legs, mums are getting started. “They keep your garden going through the fall,” adds Brandt.

Ready to plant some mums or find ways to nurture your current plot of them? Here are 10 tips for how to grow and care for this popular fall flower:

1.     Get the right sun exposure

“Mums planted in full sun will grow the best,” says Brandt. The flowers planted in full sun, she explains, will be more abundant than those planted in partial sun. Six to eight hours of direct light is the optimal amount. “When mums do not receive the right amount of sunlight during the growing season, the blooms are weak and not all of them develop,” Brandt explains.

2.     Start off small

“Start your mums in pots or trays and transplant them once they have grown roots,” says Melody Estes, a landscape design garden supervisor in Maine. If you start them directly in the ground, she says, they may take longer to get established and may be more susceptible to disease.

3.     Transplant mums carefully

When transplanting mums, make sure the soil is moist and that you keep it moist for several days after transplanting. This, says Estes, will help the roots establish themselves firmly in their new environment. Look at the tag that comes with your plants and space out the individual plants according to the instructions, giving them plenty of room to grow.

4.     Keep up with watering

“Mums are shallow-rooted plants and dry out quickly,” says Brandt. This means they generally need consistent water, especially during dry times when you aren’t getting enough rainfall. Stick your finger into the soil and touch it to feel if it’s dry. If it is dry, give your plants some water. Since mums like a lot of sun, they may dry out faster than other plants that favor the shade.

5.     Pinch your plants

Mums need occasional grooming, known as “pinching.” “Pinching helps the plant branch out and become fuller and produce more flowers,” says Brandt. When the weather heats up, pinch back the new growth of mums by taking a small piece off the tip of each stem. Brandt explains that “[d]eadheading spent blooms throughout the fall will help extend bloom time.” When the plant dies in the winter, do not cut it back. Instead, Brandt says to let it die back naturally, in the water, which will help the plant become stronger. You can clean up the dead stems and foliage in the spring.

6.     Take some care when planting

“When planting fall mums, buy them in spring and look specifically for plants intended for your climatic zone,” suggests Jen Stark, a master gardener and founder of Happy DIY Home. She notes that it’s important to plant them in the garden at least six weeks before your area's first hard frost. This will aid in the root's formation and healthy growth. “Also, early in the morning or late in the day are the best times to plant so the plants aren't immediately exposed to the intense sun,” Stark says. “Water plants thoroughly both before and after planting.”

7.     Help them avoid the frost

“Only plant your mums out once the final frost has passed, as freezing cold temperatures can cause damage to chrysanthemums,” says Lindsey Hyland, a gardening expert with Urban Organic Yield. If you suspect a frost is on the way, you can cover up your mums until it passes. To cover your mums, use a sheet or a piece of cardboard and lie it gently over them. You can also place some mulch on top of them.

8.     Perfect your indoor area

If growing indoors, make sure to place your mums in a well-lit position, away from humidity and draughty areas. Areas that are “[t]oo humid can cause mildews and not be good for the plant, which will limit the plant’s flowering capacity,” says Stark. She says to keep the soil moist, but not wet. “Take note that [you are not] leaving your plants sitting in trays of water,” Stark adds.

9.     Feed your mums

Mums need plenty of nutrients to grow. “They are heavy-feeders and need to be fertilized more often than others,” explains Joe Taylor, founder of home improvement and garden publication, PlumbJoe. Fertilize your mums as soon as you have a new sprout growing and again in early August. “You can use a slow-release or 10-10-10 fertilizer,” he explains. Taylor further clarifies, “[i]t’s best to avoid fertilizing your mums after mid-August or they won’t be able to prepare for dormancy.”

10.  Enjoy your mums

Mums are a unique flower that are fun to enjoy. “Chrysanthemums have a colorful, dramatic appearance that brightens up any space,” says Hyland. They come in over 150 different varieties and some types of mums, such as Will's Wonderful, even change color with age, from red to hints of yellow! “Chrysanthemums are also an excellent addition to a cut flower arrangement,” Hyland adds. They're also long-lasting, still standing proud after two weeks on display. And these flowers may even bring a little bit of luck your way. “Many believe mums symbolize joy, longevity, and happiness,” says Hyland. The Chinese name for mums, she says, is “the essence of the sun."

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