How Much Sun Do Mums Need

Garden mums (Chrysanthemum spp.) are a member of the daisy family and are herbaceous perennials. When you grow mums, you may ask, when do mums bloom as other plants may have faded?

Later, you can be treated to a splash of color in the garden, and summer flowers have faded. You can trim your hardy mums back during the summer, so they don’t bloom until fall. These plants are fast-growing and should bloom in their first season. Bloom times vary from early September to mid-October, depending on the type and climate.

Mums grow best in the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9, flourishing in direct sunlight. During the summer months, mums need at least six hours of sunlight each day. Mums also need healthy, well-drained garden soil or potting mix for the most fabulous flowers. (Read Do Roses Need Full Sun)

Guide in Growing Mums in your garden

However, there are certain other conditions that you need to ensure.

In our guide, you can learn more about do mums like sun or shade the most and how long do mums last in the fall once they bloom?

By the end, you’ll know enough about growing conditions to get the best from your mums.

You won’t be a certified master gardener, yet you’ll be well on your way to be a gardening expert with any mums grown in your garden.

Do Potted Mums Need Full Sun?

Garden mums come in a wide range of variations, and it’s unknown which species was the original. On the other hand, garden mums are classified by flower shape by most experts.

Anemone: One or more rows of petals and a cushion-like middle.

Pompom: Common globe shape.

Regular incurve: The petals curve up and inward to form a sphere. (Coral Charm & Honeyglow are examples).

Single or daisy: Looks like a daisy

Spider: Long, curling petals that droop down.

Cushion mums are shorter mounding mums.

Garden centers rarely carry named mum cultivars. Instead, start exhibition mums from seed or get them from a nursery or mail-order provider.

  • Clara Curtis: One of the early bloomers with single or double pink flower colors.
  • Ruby Mound: Another early-season bloomer with large ruby-red flowers.
  • Mary Stoker: Early season with single pale yellow flowers.
  • Apricot Moneymaker: Blooms mid-season and pale apricot-yellow hues.
  • Patriot: A mid- to a late-season showing of pure white pompom-shape blooms.
  • Tripoli: Blooms late in the season with purple daisy-like flowers and a yellow center.

When Do I Plant Chrysanthemums?

You can find mums in the fall and spring at garden centers, but planning is crucial.

Smaller spring mums last longer than large fall mums. Summer and fall strengthen a plant’s root system, improving the chances of winter survival.

Planting in the spring results in more fantastic blooms the following season. (Read Succulent Sun Damage Guide)

What is the Best Soil for Mums?

Chrysanthemums thrive in well-draining soil. Conversely, plants grown in hard, dry soil limit root growth, and moist, soggy soil leads to root rot.

To develop good soil for hardy chrysanthemums, work the soil to a depth of 8 to 12 inches, and add 2 to 4 inches of compost or peat moss.

How Much Sunlight Do Mums Need?

Chrysanthemums are sun-loving plants. The more light plants receive, the better their development, bloom, and hardiness, even if they only need 6 hours of full sunlight a day.

In warmer hardiness zones, summer shade prevents too much direct sunlight.

Photoperiodic mums bloom when plants sense the darkness changes during late summer and early fall.

Planting near security or a porch light can even affect the plant’s ability to bloom at the right time.

How Do I Space My Mums?

You may wish to plant mums closer together, yet spring mums don’t fill a garden either. However, adequately spaced mums will be several feet tall and wide by fall.

Mums grow like many perennials, and after planting your mums, flower beds fill in with many beautiful blooms.

Spacing mums is vital for overall plant health, and overcrowded plants compete for nutrients, attract pests, and get sick.

Growing Chrysanthemums

Do I Prune Chrysanthemums?

Mums are pinched back during the growing season to help the plants fill out to deliver more blooms.

Pinch off 1 inch of each shoot in the spring when the plant is 6 inches tall every 2 to 3 weeks until early summer. Remember, late spring or early summer pinching will delay flowering.

Deadhead spent blooms throughout the fall to extend bloom time.

Once most mums die in winter, resist cutting them back. In spring, remove dead stems and leaves. (Read When Do Morning Glories Bloom)

Do Mums Need Fertilizer?

Regular fertilizer helps chrysanthemums grow and deliver more blooms.

From early spring to July, use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer.

Fertilize fall mums in spring, as fall fertilizer application reduces chrysanthemums’ winter hardiness.

Can Mums Live In The Shade?

Mums thrive in full sun, but they can also tolerate some shade. So, if they are cultivated in full sun, they will flower the most.

Plants in hot areas often prefer some shade in the afternoon. Mums form buds in reaction to the length of the day, so don’t plant them where they’ll be exposed to bright nighttime light from a patio, window, or even a streetlight.

Mums prefer a lot of light and do well in full sun conditions as long as they are given enough water.

Choose a location that receives at least six hours of direct sun per day. Plants that do not receive enough sunlight grow tall and leggy, with fewer and smaller flowers.

Don’t move potted mums outside too early in the season as summer temperatures are high. Plants have a slim chance of surviving.

Water newly planted mums often and don’t give them chance to wilt. Once mums have established themselves, give them about an inch of water every week.

When the bottom leaves get limp or brown, water more often. It’s best not to wet the foliage, though, as this can cause disease.

Can Potted Mums Survive In Shade?

The hardy garden mum (Chrysanthemum morifolium, also known as Dendranthema morifolium) grows 1 to 3 feet tall and blooms in various flower colors.

It grows in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 9 and, like other mums, prefers full sun.

Mum cultivars come in various sizes and hues, despite having wide growing requirements. Even growing chrysanthemums from seeds require planning in locations with short growing seasons.

Start your seeds indoors at around six to eight weeks before the last frost date.

Potted Mums In Shade

Effects of Shade

Most garden mums can take light shade, but they become weak and spindly without at least six hours of sunlight. Also, flowers are fewer on shaded plants. In warm climates, afternoon shade can help chill plants.

To keep mildly shaded plants, compact, pinch 1 inch off the stem tips at 6 to 8 inches and again at 6 inches.

To promote branching, pinch plants in full sun. Even late spring or early summer pinching will delay flowering. Do not pinch plants that bloom earlier in the fall.

Mums are “short-day plants,” so they need the more extended fall season to flower. Mums set flower buds with 11 hours of darkness at night.

To keep mildly shaded plants, compact, pinch 1 inch off the stem tips at 6 to 8 inches and again at 6 inches with new growth.

This doesn’t change that mums need full sun, but it affects where you plant them.

Do not plant mums near a street lamp or porch light, since artificial light will alter their bloom cycle and result in fewer flowers.


The hardy mum is a bushy, herbaceous perennial that grows in clumps 1 to 2 feet tall and spreads slowly. Flowers can be spherical and pom-pom-like, flat with spoon-like petals, or spidery with very thin petals.

The mum is a photoperiodic plant, which means it needs a certain quantity of light to form flower buds. Therefore, when the nights shorten to roughly 10 hours in late summer, the plant receives a signal that begins bud set.

Planting your mums near a porch or street light is bad. Bud development will be stifled as a result of this. Depending on the cultivar, flowers open between six and ten weeks after planting.


Although the shorter days of late summer are necessary for a mum to bloom, the plant also requires excellent light throughout the season to grow correctly and develop into a vigorous plant.

Although the plant may handle some light shade, the optimum site for a mum is one that receives full sun for the whole day. In locations where the summer sun is intense, a spot with a few hours of light afternoon shade can help keep the plant from scorching.

A mum needs at least six hours of direct sun per day to thrive, making it an unsuitable plant for a completely shaded setting.

How Long Do Potted Mums Last?

Mums are both annuals and perennial plants and come in two types: florist mums (also known as cutting mums) and hardy mums (also known as garden mums).

They’re year-round perennials and fall annuals. Seatons Toffee, Mammoth Yellow Quill, Muted Sunshine Single, and Semi-Double are popular.

Florist mums have many bloom types: quilled, pompon, spider, and others.
Florist mums, grown in greenhouses and used indoors, yield few underground runners.

Florist mums put outside are typically short-term bedding plants that will be removed after the blooms die or frost kills them.

Garden mums can be grown in pots or among shrubs and flowers.

Depending on external conditions and how far along the plants’ blooming process were acquired, flowers endure two to three weeks.

Some gardeners use mums as ephemeral color in the landscape; as the flowers fade, the plants are dumped in the compost pile. However, if appropriately cultivated, chrysanthemums can bloom in the fall garden for years.

Chrysanthemums need well-drained beds with at least six hours of sun every day to offer new growth.

After blooming, clip back garden mums to remove all faded flowers (about one-quarter their height).

If the winter is mild, some mums will produce more flowers.

In late January or early February, prune back garden mums to 3 inches. They’re hardy and stay dormant all winter.

New shoots sprout at the base of existing stem stubs in February or March.

As summer ends, many residential gardens include fall-blooming flowers. Hardy chrysanthemums or mums (Chrysanthemum spp.) have several flower types in dozens of colors to embellish beds and borders.

Hardy mums grow year-round in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 9 and as annuals or houseplants.

How Much Sun Do Mums Need

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