Mum, can I prune them back?

paulsiu(5a)September 18, 2011

I had a mum that a friend gave me 2 years ago. I haven't prune it and it now looks rather lanky because the center has died out and the branches are rather long.

In a garden, mum is cut back to the ground in the winter and divided in spring. Can I prune my plant or would that kill it? Can I divide the plant and replant the pieces so that it will be bushy again?


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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

If your mums performed fairly well for you indoors last winter, you can prune them back now or immediately after blooming and pot up temporarily (until spring) if you like. If they performed poorly and exhibited poor vitality indoors, it might be better to cut them back hard and force a situational dormancy by putting them in a cool dark place (35-50* would be great) & dividing in spring as they are awakening. During the rest period, supply only enough water to keep the roots from drying completely.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 3:32PM
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I'm assuming you keep your mum indoors as a house plant? If so, I can't offer any advice. However, if you plant it outdoors, you can cut it down either before winter or in early spring and then again around the 6th of July. Trimming up in July should provide a healthy flush of new blooms for fall.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 9:02PM
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No, it's being kept as a houseplant. Can I just prune and divide now. I don't care if it doesn't flower this year. I just want to restore it to its more compact bushy form.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 11:01PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

If you're growing under HPS or halide lights, you could divide now w/o much in the way of potential difficulties. If you're not, you still CAN prune and divide if you wish, but it doesn't make good sense, looking at it from the perspective of what's best for the plant. The question raised is: why cut off the plant's food-making machinery AND disturb the energy storing roots as the plant is just about to enter the most trying portion of its growth cycle? Odds are, you'd just be setting yourself up for more difficulties than if you simply put them in a cool dark place (where they'll become quiescent for the winter) which will conserve energy in the roots until spring. You'd then undoubtedly end up with much more robust plants in the spring than if you tried to nurse the splits through the winter.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 7:41PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I would prune it back halfway and fertilize it. It will branch out nicely and give you more flowers. Outside mums tolerate being pruned on a regular basis. I have some in pots in the greenhouse that never got planted. We keep prcrastinating and it's been so hot! I always pruned them when they get leggy.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 6:23PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Sorry - I keep reading this with the Brit meaning of 'mum' in my head :) "Outside Mums tolerate being pruned on a regular basis." Just because she got leggy? My, you're a cruel lot. At least Nancy keeps her mum indoors.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 1:51PM
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