Mums, often called chrysanthemums, are colorful flowers that are popularly used in gardens and decorations during fall. They come in a variety of colors, from yellow to pink, red, orange, and lavender, to name a few.
But do mums come back every year in pots? Mums are categorized into two main types: florist mums and garden mums. Generally, florist mums do not return each year; in contrast, garden mums reliably return year after year. Garden mums are more cold-hardy and bloom earlier than florist mums (Source: Iowa State University)
In this post, I will investigate whether mums come back every year in pots and discuss some tips for maintaining your potted mums year after year. If you wonder whether you can plant mums in the ground, I encourage you to read this article and find out how you can plant mums in the ground with a quick and helpful guide.
What Are Potted Mums?
Potted mums can be purchased from garden centers, nurseries, and floral shops, and they are often grown to be used temporarily for home or office decorations during the fall. While potted mums can be planted in the ground, they are mostly used for a season and discarded once their blooms die out, which means that most potted mums are not perennials and cannot return year after year.
However, there are some mum varieties that can survive and bloom again in the following years. These hardy mums are perennials and can be planted in the ground or left in pots to grow.
Perennial potted mums require some care to ensure their survival, such as pruning and watering throughout the year. They also need regular fertilization to encourage new growth and blooms. With proper care, perennial potted mums can return every year just like other perennial plants.
Are Potted Mums Perennials?
It is essential to understand that mums are perennials, which means that they are designed to come back year after year. However, this is not always the case with potted mums, as potting creates a distinct environment for the plant. Indoor potted mums tend to require more specific care than those planted in the ground. Thus, their success rate from season to season can vary.
In general, outdoor mums placed in pots tend to have a better chance of coming back every year because outdoor plants are exposed to natural light and weather conditions, which tends to improve their health, making them more robust and resilient.
Also, mums planted in pots are more susceptible to environmental factors such as frost, drying out, or overwatering, which means outdoor mums may fare better since they are less prone to stressing about environmental factors.
Tips for Maintaining Your Potted Mums Year After Year
Mums are one of the most popular fall flowers, and many people choose to plant them in pots or containers.
Here are proven tips for maintaining your potted mums year after year:
1- Ensure Adequate Watering
Adequate watering is crucial when it comes to growing and maintaining healthy potted mums. Over or underwatering can cause the plants to wither, and if not addressed timely, they may not survive beyond their first season in pots.
Watering your mums is an essential part of keeping them healthy through all seasons. You need to keep the soil moist by watering regularly but avoiding waterlogged soil. Overwatering disrupts the soil’s internal environment, causing various issues for the plants, such as root rot. To ensure proper moisture levels, I suggest you remove excess water from the pot’s drain dish after watering, especially for indoor potted mums.
2- Properly Fertilize Your Mum Plants
Fertilizing is also crucial when it comes to growing, caring for, and maintaining healthy mums in pots. In most cases, potting soil lacks natural nutrients, unlike the soil in the ground. That is why it is recommended to fertilize your potted mums with a good-quality fertilizer, preferably one that can work consistently over an extended period.
Most gardeners fertilize typically annually mum plants or, more often, depending on the mum’s growth rate and health. Your first application should happen in the early spring after growth has resumed, and then use as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
3- Proper Care Is Required During Winter
Winter protection is crucial in growing outdoor potted mums through the offseason. Cold temperatures can cause frost damage and kill off plant growth. The best way to protect your outdoor potted mums is to move them indoors during the offseason.
If you decide to move your potted mums indoors, I suggest you expose them gradually to indoor conditions by moving them to a shady or partially warm area before winter sets in. You may also want to move your pots to a different location, such as a garage or covered porch. You may also need to prune your potted mums before they are moved indoors and take any other necessary steps to ensure they safely navigate the offseason.
Do Mums Come Back Every Year In Pots?
Florist or greenhouse mums are generally sold yearly at most typical floral shops, supermarkets, and nurseries. Unfortunately, florist mums do not do well when planted outdoors, according to Iowa State University of Science and Technology.
More importantly, most florist mums will not survive the winter when grown outdoors, and even if they manage to survive the winter typically don’t bloom outdoors.
Typically, florist mums bloom late in the fall. Often freezing temperatures might damage the flower buds before they can fully develop and open. Tossing a florist mum in the compost pile after blooming is generally recommended. If you want to grow mums in your garden, I suggest you purchase garden or hardy mums at a local garden center or nursery in spring.
How Do You Get Potted Mums Back Every Year?
The easiest way to get your potted mums to come back every year is to bring them plants indoors, cutting off the brown foliage and stems about 3 to 4 inches long above the soil, covering the container, and bringing it inside to an unheated location, such as a garage or shed.
I believe with a little bit of extra care, these hardy plants can come back every year and provide beautiful colorful blooms that will brighten up any space. If you want to have potted mums that come back every year, you need to be aware of the following factors:
- Choose perennial mum varieties such as ‘Clara Curtis,’ ‘Mary Stoker,’ or ‘Fireworks,’ which are ideal for pot cultivation.
- Plant the mums in large pots with rich, well-drained soil.
- Choosing a location with the right amount of sunlight is also important to enable the mums to thrive.
- Water the mums regularly to keep the soil moist and use the right amount of fertilizers.
What to read next:
- Will Frost Hurt Your Mums? (Here’s The Truth!)
- When do Mums Start to Grow Back And Everything You Need to Know?
- Can You Plant Mums After They Bloom? (Let’s find out now!)
- What Do Mums Actually Look Like in The Spring?
You can increase the chances of potted mums coming back every year with proper care. To ensure that your potted mums come back year after year, select perennial mum varieties, plant them in large pots with proper soil and sunlight, and water them regularly.
Outdoor mums are more prone to coming back every year than indoor ones, as they are exposed to natural weather conditions and sunlight.
Always remember that adequate watering, fertilizing, and winter protection are essential for ensuring that your potted mums maintain their health from season to season.
I believe that by following the tips I outlined in this article, you can be sure that your mums will come back to grace your garden with their beautiful blooms every fall.