Mum knows best: How to keep your mums alive through the winter

Though often treated as annuals, chrysanthemums are actually perennials + can come back year after year if properly cared for during the winter months. These brightly colored beauties are the perfect way to add life to your garden. So how can you keep them thriving each year? Mum’s the word! Check out these tips.


It starts with spring planting.

The root systems of the beautiful blooming mums often planted in the fall aren’t strong enough to survive the cold months. The safest way to keep garden mums coming back year after year is to plant cuttings in the spring. This way they’ll be able to develop strong root systems throughout the year to help ensure they’ll survive the winter!

When planting, choose a location that will be protected from cold winter winds. Up against the house is usually a safe bet. It’s so important for the soil to be well draining as well. In the winter, the roots can freeze if the soil collects and holds water.


Give them a trim after they frost.

After the first few frosts hit, your mums’ leaves will start to brown and die. Cut their stems to 3 or 4 inches in height to help ensure you’ll have a full plant next year. Overcutting could cause their stems to grow back more sparsely.


Keep them covered in the winter.

We all like to bundle up in the winter, and the same goes for your mums! Give them a heavy blanket of mulch like straw or leaves for protection during the cold months. Protecting your garden with mulch actually helps keep the ground from thawing during warm spells. Surprisingly, it’s less damaging to your mums to stay frozen through the entire winter rather than freezing, thawing, and freezing again multiple times.

Alternatively, after you cut back your stems, you can bring your mums indoors and place them in a dark, unheated location during the winter. Give them water two or three times a month—just enough to moisten the soil during dormancy. Just before spring approaches, bring them outdoors in their pot for an hour or so and then bring them back into their winter location. Leave them outside a little bit longer each day to get acclimated to their new location. Once the last frost passes, replant them for the spring!


Looking to add a little color to your array of houseplants? Stop by GSCO to grab the perfect mums for your home this winter!