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How to Care for Mum Plants

The chrysanthemum, or mum as most people refer to it, is a plant with low-maintenance and long-lasting flowers with bright colors. The plants can be grown in larger pots indoors or outdoors in the summer months. The mums make colorful table plants or window plants. Before deciding where to put the mum plant, you should know how to care for mum plants so that they flourish and flower all year long.

Fertilize the soil with Osmocote 14-14-14, which is a slow-release fertilizer, when you plant the mum. Every week after that, use Rapid Grow until Aug. 1. After Aug. 1, use a 10-10-10 fertilizer or opt for no fertilizer at all during the fall and winter months. The fertilizer that is high in potassium and nitrogen will promote a larger number of flowers and increase the size of the blooms.

Prune back the mum to 4 to 6 inches if the plant is more than 10 inches high on July 1. Leave some good foliage and green just below where you make the cut.

Pinch back the tips of the stems after pruning to promote flowers and branching to make the mum fuller. Note: Large flowers should not be pinched anytime after July 5 and smaller plants should not be pinched after Aug. 5.

Remove any lateral branches and leave the plant with only three stems to help developing buds. The branches should be removed when they are small and soft so as not to take away from the growth of the buds and stems.

Water the mum every other day when the soil becomes dry. The mums planted indoors may need less water. Use the finger test to determine if the plant needs water. Stick your finger about an inch into the soil and if it is dry, water the plant.

Plant or set the mums in locations with partial sun. Indirect sunlight is better than full sun.

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