The Q&A Archives: information on hardy mums kept in containers

Question: By accident I realized mums when dormant in my unheated garage and I now have mums that are blooming in pots. I am going to put them in garage again this winter and now I would like some advice as I never watered them at all. They have quite a few flowers on them but they are not like a bush but rather tall and sparse looking. Do I cut them back after flowers die? When do I set them out in spring? Do I transplant in different pots with new dirt in spring? MY mom used to have beautiful mum bushes and I never got her secret. I have never had
a mum I planted in the ground come back the next year so I am thrilled that I had them come back in this manner. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated to continued to have mums growing in pots that I don't have to purchase every year. Thank you

Answer: Sounds like you did just fine with your mums last winter. You can repeat the process again this winter. Once the tops die down you can cut everything off at soil level. Water the containers once and they should remain reasonably moist all winter long. Since the roots are dormant they won't need water, but you will want to make sure the soil doesn't become bone dry during the winter. So, just check it once a month or so. If it is completely dry you can add just a little bit of water to help it rehydrate just a little.

You won't need to repot your mums for another year or two. Mums can be divided every 2-3 years and at that time you can pot them up in fresh potting soil. After taking them back out in the spring, plan on periodically shearing the plant lightly or pinching back the growing tips to encourage branching. Stop doing this in mid July to allow time for the flower buds to form and bloom before the cold weather sets in.

Hope this information is helpful.

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