Mums falling over - Knowledgebase Question

Kingston, Ne
Question by galoriam
November 2, 2007
I bought mums from Home Depot last year - many of them! This year, when they came up, I took the buds off and shaped the plants about 3 times. When they bloomed, they were SO FULL of flowers that they kept falling over. The result is that the flowers were on the ground with nothing in the middle of the plants. They literally fell over and split in all directions. How can I avoid that for next year? Thank you!

A comment from Chandler48
October 13, 2018
Seek nurseries that sell native flowers for your area. Often, in an effort to please customers, hybrids bred to have fuller blossoms are offered. Pollinators, such as bees, wasps hummingbirds and butterflies seek easier access to nectar single layer heirloom flowers.

Answer from davidg2156
October 13, 2018


Pinching them back is what gives them so many blooms, which makes many of them top heavy. Unless you have rows of them supporting each other, I always use 3-4 green stakes with green strings to bundle them up. You can't see the green in the plants, and when they do get wet or top heavy, it offers some support.

Answer from Potawatomi13
October 14, 2018


One additional problem with HD flowers is I believe they still use neonicotinoid(sp?)poisons on their plants which kill bee hives off when the bees carry back the poisonous pollen to the nest. Please ask before buying flowers from anyone what they were treated with by their suppliers and if they don't answer or don't know don't buy from them.

Answer from dk741776
October 13, 2018


Another solution is to cut a piece of black plastic bird netting and lay on top of the mum plant after completing the last stem pinching. The small holes in the netting allows the netting to be pushed down the stems about ΒΌ - 1/2 inch to conceal the netting. The blossoms then develop above the netting which holds the stems in place to prevent rain or hose watering from causing the stems to fall as the blossoms develop. The plastic netting at the outer edges of the plant may have to be depressed lower on the stem to prevent the netting from popping up. This method enables all blossoms to display their glorious color. At the end of the fall season, remove the netting and store for next year's mums.

Name: Meri Taylor
SD (Zone 4b)
Answer from mnmat
October 13, 2018



I love the bird netting idea! I wonder if it would work for Asters and Bachelor Buttons, both of which flop. I'll have to troll the garden next year looking for more plants with floppsie

Answer from davisanne
October 14, 2018


when your mums come back in the spring. You need to take them up and separate the sprouts...there may be many. Transplant the mum sprout in well drained soil. your it would be good to water them in with a water soluble fertilizer...such and Peters or Miracle grow. i would only mix it at about 1/2 strength. Keep the sprout waters we until they bite (more roots established in the ground). When you see new growth, pinch back about 1/2 of the plant. This will encourage now branches. After that each time you see buds, roll them off the plant. ..or do a soft pinch. the will encourage more new branches. I would also put a slow release fertilizer in the ground. 20-10-20 or maybe even triple 14 (14-14-14). Mums are very heavy feeders. Don't pinch any more after the 15th of July .
I try to have mt last pinch done by the 4th of July. This will give your plant plenty of time to form a nice plant and set buds to bloom for fall.

by not pinching your plant far enough back and not separating the sprouts, you are not letting it get enough air and letting it get too tall. I have raised mums for years, in the many 10000. Be SURE you start with one small sprout each me it will shape up really pretty!! Hope this helps.

Answer from NGA
November 2, 2007


Pinching mums back should encourge lots of new shoots which should be shorter and sturdier than if you didn't pinch at all. It will also result in a riot of flower buds, as you have discovered. But, these opened flowers can become heavy with rainwater (or water from the hose) and bend over with the weight. To overcome this top-heavy tendency, try pinching as usual, then as the flower buds begin to form, pinch out all but the top-most flower bud. This will give you fewer, but larger flowers, each on a single stem. The stem should be strong enough to hold the flower upright, even when it is fully grown and soaked with rain.

Or, if you'd rather not pinch the flower buds out, you can support the plants with peony cages. These metal units are designed to fit over young plants; train individual stems up through the openings and when the plants are in bloom, you'll barely see the supporting grid.

Enjoy your mums!

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