The Q&A Archives: Pruning Mums

Question: My mums are starting to get buds on them. If they flower now, will they still flower in the fall? If not, what should I do to them now? Prune them? Please help with my mum problem! Cathy

Answer: It's normal for flower buds to begin developing in summer. The plants will continue to bloom until late fall. Although you don't need to do anything to garden mums other than water them, some professional mum growers advise the following:

To increase stem growth and reduce the leggy look, most mums are pinched back two to three times prior to June 15. Pinching a mum is done by removing about a third of the new growth back to a bud. This stimulates the plant to branch more, and increases the plants width and flowering wood.

Another term often associated with mums is disbudding. Disbudding is the process of removing some of the buds to allow those left to produce large flowers. Normally the first buds that appear on a stem are the ones left when disbudding. The small lateral buds can be removed to allow the crown bud to flower. Doing this is not necessary on garden mums. They flower and look great without any disbudding but removing the lateral buds will result in a single large flower instead of 3 smaller ones.

Best wishes with your mums!

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