Fall florals by your front door are a cheery sight for as long as they last. But to make autumnal blooms like chrysanthemums keep going for as much of pumpkin spice latte season as possible, consider watering them a new way.
Instead of pouring water on top of the mums that are sitting in pots on your porch, water them from the bottom. Adding water down into the soil will help them stay fresh longer.
Why? As TikTok user Jodie Kammerer at @jodie.thedesigntwins highlights on the social media site, letting a plant sit in water for a while allows the roots to really take in what they need. It also prevents fungus growth, which can happen if you just pour water over the leaves and flowers.
“One year I was determined to keep my mums alive and I tried watering every single day!” Kammerer wrote in the video caption to her Instagram post on the topic. “But watering from the top doesn’t really work because most of the water just runs straight through the pot (have you noticed?) not giving the roots time to soak up the water they need.”
Make sure your mums are in a pot with drainage for both letting water in and out. Then, immerse your entire pot of mums, including the soil, in water for 30 minutes to two hours. You’ll know it’s been long enough when the water level stops going down in the bucket or container you’re soaking the plant in.
How do you know if your plant needs water? Touch the soil to feel if it’s dry. You’ll also be able to tell by the weight of the plant. More water-saturated soil is heavier and dry soil is lighter.
Mums do particularly well with the bottom-watering method because they have a shallow root system and therefore, need to be watered more often.
Another way to increase their longevity is to replant store or nursery mums in a larger pot with more soil to allow the roots more room to grow. You’ll also want to pick potted mums that are just starting to bloom or have green buds so that you’ll have flowers for longer. Buying fully bloomed mums means they have less flowering time with you.
Many commenters on Kammerer’s original video were exasperated by the short time their mums lived, but at least one commenter took her advice and used the tip, then returned to the video to tell everyone that just one soak saved their mums.
Bottom watering works for all types of plants; there are some fascinating TikTok time-lapse videos showing that the method really works. This one is from @alyplantsnstuff.
While Kammerer uses Home Depot buckets to soak her mums, there’s no reason you can’t opt for more pleasing pails. @joyfullyso shared a video where she uses a jack-o’-lantern bucket as a pot alternative. Just remember to take the mums out after a couple of hours — you can drown them if you leave them in too long.
How I water my mums. Watering from the roots up can help cultivate a healthy mum. I use a $5 Halloween trick-or-treat pail to get the job done and add a little Halloween spirit. #fallpatio #porchdecor #trickortreat #decorhacks
TikTok user @edwardsfarmstead planted some of his mums in a white enamel pot and others in a bushel basket, with a trash bag around the soil. That both protects the basket from water damage and keeps moisture in the soil longer.
Don’t you hate when you bring home beautiful mums and they look only seem to last a couple weeks? Follow these tips to help keep your mums looking great all fall! Have any tips of your own? Share them below! #edwardsfarmstead #bhghome #fall #mums #mumcare #falldecor #fallplanters #fallgardening #fallcontainers #fyp #foryourpage #mycountryhome #fallporch #gardeningtips
A final tip, along with watering from the bottom and buying mums when they haven’t bloomed yet, is to deadhead or pick off spent mums. This allows plants’ energy to go to new blooms and keeps their flowers full and vibrant.
Did you know there are 13 varieties of chrysanthemums? The hardiness of mums and their likelihood to rebloom again will depend on the type you have and where you live in the U.S. But now you know a method to try and keep them looking their best so they’ll linger as long as possible into the fall season.
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