How Much and How Often Should You Water Mums?

Are you confused about how much water your chrysanthemums actually need? These hardy plants do require regular moisture, but how much and how frequently will depend on your climate. In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen walks through how much water your chrysanthemums need, and how often you should be watering them.

chrysanthemum water

Chrysanthemums, commonly called Mums, are a spectacular fall favorite. They are readily available, easy to grow, and bloom in a wide assortment of brilliant colors. There are hundreds of different varieties of Chrysanthemums available for the home gardener. Flowers differ in color, size, shape, and complexity. They range from small, simple, yellow flowers to large, graceful, multi layered orange blooms, and almost everything in between.

Mums are easily grown in pots and containers, and this may be the most familiar method. Mums can also be grown directly in the garden and enjoyed throughout the year. Just as most flowering plants are fading, Mums burst into bloom, adorning the garden with fresh fall flowers.

If you have recently acquired a potted Mum, you are probably enjoying it during its blooming phase. But you may be wondering how best to care for your new plant, which includes how often and how much to water it. The answer is fairly simple. Read on to learn more about watering your Chrysanthemum this season!

The Short Answer

A good rule of thumb is that you should be watering your mums anytime they need it. This means checking the soil daily to see if it’s dry. In some climates, mums will need to be watered everyday, while in others, weekly may suffice. Mums like to be kept moist, but not wet. If you have a potted Mum, water it whenever the pot starts to feel light and the soil surface feels dry.

The Long Answer

A gardener watering yellow chrysanthemums with a plastic watering can. The can is green, and has a black head at the top. Water is showering all over the yellow blooms of the plant which are in season and blooming.
Check your mums daily for moisture needs, as their needs will change based on climate.

There are many varieties of Chrysanthemum, and many ways to grow them. People generally buy them as late-season potted plants, and enjoy their exuberant blooms during the autumn months. Some people keep their Mums in their original pots for just one blooming period, and then dispose of them after blooming.

Others buy Mums anytime from spring through fall, plant them in the garden, and grow them as perennials. There’s no one right way to grow a Mum, it’s entirely up to you and your gardening style.

Regardless of when and where you buy your Mums and how you choose to grow them, they all have similar watering and soil needs. Mums like to be kept moist. They do not like their roots to dry out. They also do not tolerate saturated soil. Mums should be grown in soil that is loose, rich, high in organic matter, and well-drained.

Potted Mums

A male gardener in beige light trousers and light gray sneakers is watering potted chrysanthemums in a beautiful beige decorative pot from a green watering can. Chrysanthemum flowers are small, double bright pink with lush small green foliage. A potted pink petunia stands next to a potted chrysanthemum on a wooden porch outside. Petunia flowers are purple with a white border. In the background, there is a green garden.
Potted chrysanthemums require frequent watering until water starts to run out of the drainage holes.

Potted Mums are a familiar sight each autumn. If you buy potted Mums, it’s a good idea to check the soil moisture daily. You can lift the pot to see how heavy it is or feel the surface with your finger. A pot that is too dry will feel very lightweight. If the pot is light and if the soil around your Mums feels dry to the touch, it’s time to give them some water.

Whenever you determine that the soil is dry, give your potted plants a hearty drink of water. Water freely from the top until the water starts to run out the bottom of the pot. Then allow the water to drain and wait until the soil starts to feel dry again before the next watering.

If growing Mums in a pot or other container, make sure they have good drainage so the container doesn’t accumulate and hold water. Similarly, the soil should be light and well-drained. The soil should not hold water and become soggy for a prolonged period of time. Soil that is too wet can easily lead to root rot and dead plants.

Garden Mums

Close-up of watering pink-purple chrysanthemums from a green watering can with a black spray. Numerous blooming chrysanthemums with small double purple flowers with yellow centers and light green lobed leaves on thin brown stems.
Mums planted in full sun require regular watering during the spring and summer months.

Mums are a wonderful addition to a perennial garden. If you are growing Mums in the ground, plant them in a location where they get plenty of sunlight and where you can keep the soil moist. Mums tend to have a fairly shallow root system, and can benefit from a light layer of mulch to help preserve soil moisture.

Mums growing in the garden probably won’t dry as quickly or need as much extra water as potted plants, but you should still check on them regularly. If you are growing Mums as perennials, don’t forget about them and ignore then when they aren’t flowering.

They need regular waterings and moist soil during the spring and summer months as well. If they dry out and die in mid-summer, you will miss out on their showy fall blooms.

To maximize fall blooms, you will not only need to water your Mums regularly, but also give them some spring and summer fertilizer.

This will give them the energy they need to develop a mass of fall flowers. If your Mums produce flower buds in the summer, you can pinch these off so they put all their energy into one spectacular fall flower display.

Too Much or Too Little Water?

Top view, close-up of pink and white chrysanthemums with brown petals against blurred green foliage. The flowers are small, double, consist of many elongated rounded petals arranged in several rows around a yellow center with stamens. Some flowers are completely or partially brown due to improper watering.
The main signs of insufficient watering are dry soil, brown withered flowers, and wilted leaves.

How can you tell if your mums are getting too much or too little water? There are a few signs you can look out for so you can spot any issues and take care of them promptly.

Signs of Too Much Water

  • Very wet, saturated soil
  • Plant sitting in wet soil
  • Pot without drainage holes
  • Leaves turn black and mushy
  • Roots rot

If you notice signs that your Mum may be too wet, you will need to take quick action. A plant sitting in wet soil for too long can easily develop root rot. Unfortunately, if the roots have already started to rot, you plant may not recover.

If the problem is recognized quickly enough, you will need to find a way to help the soil dry out a bit. You can try repotting in fresh, loose, well-drained soil. You can try putting your plant in a pot with better drainage. If you are simply watering too often, adjust your watering routing so the soil stays moist without ever being squishy.

Signs of Not Enough Water

  • Very dry soil
  • Very lightweight pot
  • Leaves starting to wilt
  • Flowers turn brown and dry
  • Leaves start to turn brown and die

If you notice signs that your plant has dried out, give it a thorough drink of water. If caught quickly, your plant should make a full recovery. The best way to prevent your plant from drying out is to check on it every day and water it whenever it starts to feel dry.

Final Thoughts

Chrysanthemums are easy-to-grow plants that liven-up any autumn garden display. As long as they get enough sun and enough water, Mums will likely bloom continuously  from early fall until the first frost. Remember these important tips for successful Mum watering:

  • Check the soil moisture daily
  • Feel the soil with your fingers
  • Pick up potted plants to test weight
  • Keep soil moist but not wet or soggy
  • Allow to dry slightly between waterings
  • Potted plants need good drainage
  • Use loose, rich, well-drained soil

With daily care and attention, you can keep an eye on your Mums and make sure they are getting the right amount of water. Daily checks also allow you to promptly discover and correct any watering issues. The most rewarding benefit of daily checks is that they allow you to fully enjoy your beautiful chrysanthemums!

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