Mum Flowers

Learn about chrysanthemum flowers, including tips for growing and designing with these autumn icons.
Related To:
Mums are Fall's Dahlias

Mums are Fall's Dahlias

With beautiful colors to choose from, it's not hard to see why mums are a go-to fall flower.

With beautiful colors to choose from, it's not hard to see why mums are a go-to fall flower.

Give your yard a fall facelift by adding chrysanthemum flowers to planting beds and containers. You can treat mum flowers as annuals, tucking them into planting beds and pots to bring a splash of color from fall until frost. Or you can plant them in planting beds as permanent residents, capitalizing on their perennial nature to reward with years of colorful mum flowers. 

When planting chrysanthemum flowers in containers, play with mum flower shapes and colors to paint living masterpieces of bud and bloom. The rounded form of garden mum plants works well in containers and looks especially eye-catching when tucked into elevated pots and urns that lift the color above ground level. 

Pair garden mum flowers with small ornamental grasses for a textural contrast. Use bronze-tinted carex or burgundy fountain grass to stick with autumn colors in your container garden design. Tuck ivy around pot edges to add trailing interest. Garden mums mix and match effortlessly with ornamental cabbage and other cool-season crops, such as pansies and sweet alyssum. 

Choose mum flowers in colors that complement your home’s exterior, especially if they appear near the house, like in window boxes or pots near a front porch or garage. Look for chrysanthemum flowers for sale in hanging baskets to inject a strong pop of color to porches and patios. 

In the landscape, most garden designers agree that chrysanthemum flowers look best planted in swaths or clumps of the same color and flower type. Using this method creates blocks of color that you can repeat throughout the landscape, using mum flowers or other plants. Repeating colors in this fashion unifies different planting areas and forms an eye-pleasing effect. With mum flowers in the landscape, more is always better. You’ll get the strongest impact when you mass plant. 

When you’re buying garden mums in fall, they’re packed with flower buds and ready to bloom. When growing garden mums as perennials in your garden, you’ll need to tackle some pinching or pruning to help plants put on the best fall show. Start the pinching process when new shoots are 4 to 6 inches long. Remove the top one-half to one inch of growth on each shoot. Use garden shears or sharp scissors to make this job move faster. If blades get sticky, wipe them down with rubbing alcohol. 

Each time new growth reaches the 4- to 6-inch mark, prune the plants. Do this from spring’s first growth until mid-July (many gardeners use July 4 as an easy-to-remember stopping point). Pinching plants causes three things to happen. First, it delays flowering until fall. Second, it causes plants to branch, which results in more flowers. Third, pruning reduces stem length, which results in a stockier plant that doesn’t flop over.

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