Common mum flowers, or Chrysanthemum morifolium, is both easy and difficult. While the flower is ubiquitous and famous as homeowner’s classic favorite, it requires a lot of attention.
Nevertheless, its eye-catching blooms and bright colors create the perfect look for the spring and summer, whether indoor or outdoor.
Characteristics of Chrysanthemum Morifolium
C. morifolium is often called garden mum, because it is known as a garden plant. It is famous for circular, almost layered petal formations. It comes in huge color variations, such as dark red, pink, white, orange, and yellow.
The flower grows to the size of 12 to 36 inches, and the large blooms are great as bouquet heads.
Unfortunately, this flower is not a hardy variety, and extreme cold weather can kill it. You can try planting garden mum indoor if your area has extreme weather patterns. Once the flowers bloom, you can cut them to make bouquets. Indoor flowers usually bloom three to four times before finally dying.
How to Plant Common Mums in the Garden
Mum gardening requires direct, natural light to grow healthy blooms. You must find a spot in your garden that gets the longest hours of direct light. Keep in mind that this flower does not like drastic temperature changes. Start planting in early spring to enjoy full bloom during summer.
Here are the steps to plant common mums:
Choose the right starter plant
Buying a starter plant from the nursery is easier than planting seeds. Choose ideal florist’s chrysanthemum, with fresh foliage, compact look, and without brown spots or wilted leaves.
Choose the right planting spot
Choose any spot that gets the most of light for your flowers. Garden mums thrive in slightly acidic soil, with ideal pH of around 6 to 6.5. The soil must be well-drained and cultivated until 8 to 12 inches of depth.
Add compost and fertilizer
Add 2 to 4 inches of compost layer to your cultivated soil and mix it well. Add dry fertilizer to boost the growth, with the formula of 5 pounds fertilizer for every 100 square feet of the garden beds.
Plant the flowers
Measure the root ball of the plant you bought. Dig a hole with the same height (the top of the root ball must be in-line with the soil surface) and double the width. Create 24 inches of distance between holes. Place your mums and cover the holes, but don’t pack the soil too tightly.
Water them deeply for the first time. The moisture must soak at least 5 to 6 inches of soil depth. Use a garden hose to water the base of the flowers, not the top of the plants.
How to Plant Common Mums Indoor
Afraid that extreme climate will kill your flowers? Growing mums indoors can be the solution. You don’t need a wide space to plant them, and you can enjoy beautiful flowers inside, even if they live a shorter life. Here is how to do it:
Pick the right pot and soil
Your pot must be at least 7 inches wide and has the same height with the root ball. The bottom part must have proper drainage holes and saucer. You can mix one part of compost and peat moss with two parts of regular potting soil.
Plant and water properly
After mixing the soil properly, place your mums in the pot. Don’t pat the soil too tightly to ensure good drainage. Water the base of the plant until you can see water coming out of the drainage holes.
Place the pot in a proper spot
Growing chrysanthemum indoor means you need to find spots with natural light. Place your pot near the window or in the terrace, especially during warmer seasons.
Depending on when you buy the flowers, you only need to fertilize them right before blooming season. Use a fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen and potassium. This will ensure large, bulbous blooms that make your home look cheerful.
How to Care for Common Mums
Chrysanthemum morifolium care is quite easy once you fulfill the requirements. However, you need to water it regularly to encourage healthy blooms. The key is to wait for the soil to become slightly dry (but not cracked) before watering. Water from the base and avoid wetting the plants.
If you expect large, bushy flowers, you need to do regular “pinching” on young buds. Once the young plants reach 6 inches of height, pinch 1 cm of the top stem part. Repeat this process when the new growths reach 6 inches. Don’t forget to remove all the deadheads and wilted leaves.
Common Problems of Mums
Even with outdoor gardening, easy care, and ideal requirements, hardy mum is hard to find. There are several common problems associated with this plant, caused by fungus, viruses, and pests. Here are some of them (and how you can solve the problems):
Rust is caused by fungus and can create pale spots on the leaves. It will prevent the flowers from blooming properly. Use fungicide and remove the infected plants to prevent spreading.
This problem is caused by bacteria called Erwinia chrysanthemi. It results in root rot and wilted plant. The sign is black or decayed parts of the cuttings. You should pasteurize the infected soil and soak the cuttings in plant antibiotic products.
Aphids and spider mites
Aphids and spider mites are common pests that are hard to kill with pesticide (not recommended, since it can kill their natural predators). You can remove them by spraying the plant with insecticide soap or horticultural oil. Remove all the infected plants and burn them.
This fungal problem happens when the plant is often soaked (such as from improper watering). It creates powdery pale spots on the leaf surfaces. You must remove all the infected plants and apply mildew removal products, such as propiconazole or myclobutanil.
Always pay attention to the first signs of health problems. The sooner you spot them, the easier for you to apply the solution.
Chrysanthemum morifolium is a beautiful and popular flower, but it needs specific requirements to grow healthily. You can grow them indoor or outdoor, but the indoor version is shorter in lifespan. Make sure you follow all the required steps to enjoy the bright blooms every day.