Why are my mums preparing to bloom? Should I cut them back?

ericininJune 12, 2010

I planted some mums last year, and I was happy to see them come back this spring. They are getting HUGE and are already preparing the bloom. I can see flower buds all over them. Does this mean they will not bloom again in the fall? Should I cut them back or will this kill them? Thanks you!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

They are preparing to bloom because they have not been pinched/cut back. A lot of things seem to be blooming a bit earlier this year in my area, but mums will normally bud up sometime around July if not pinched.

Pinching delays blooming, and also makes for a shorter, fuller plant with many, many more blooms. I normally pinch at least two times, if not three, during the season.

If you cut back now, yes they will still bloom in the fall. I've even trimmed back fully budded-up hardy mums from the nursery when planting in August (to delay blooming), and they *still* bloomed.

You can cut or pinch. I would cut (with hand pruners), since it's faster, and foliage will quickly fill in to cover a lot of the cuts. Either method will work just fine. :0)

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 11:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

If you cut back now, yes they will still bloom in the fall.


they need to be pinched back about 2 to 3 times in summer to bloom in fall ...

i havent done mums in years.. but i recall something like 4th of july.. 4th of august.. gives plenty of time to rebud by fall ...

mx notes the season is ahead.. so it doesnt surprise me they need early pinching ...

i used to let them get to about 6 inches.. pinch back to 3... grow 6 more... pinch back 3 .... etc ....

the pinched pieces root easily in water .... so you can have a million of them by fall ...


    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 2:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
diggerdee zone 6 CT

I agree with the above information. I walked by a stand of mums in the garden a few weeks ago and was amazed to see big fat buds already! In mid-May! I usually don't pinch until June, but I got out the clippers and whacked those babies back, lol! Things are definitely much earlier this year, all around.

I did save the cuttings to try to root, but most likely will not get around to it. :)


    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 3:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the info. Just a question for clarification... Are you saying to just pinch back all of the buds ( there are tons of them ) or do I actually cut back the entire plant to 3-6 inches? Thanks

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 4:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
juliebw(z5 NY)

I believe you should cut off all the buds. A plant as big as yours can be cut back at least 3 inches, more would be fine.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 4:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Actually these look quite full and look to be a Belgian mum. There is probably no need to pinch it back. Let it bloom now, enjoy it and pinch back immediately after they bloom and it should still come again and give you a second bloom in fall.

The Belgians have almost taken over the whole market share of garden mums in the last twenty years. Growers are even advised by the breeders not to pinch. Old fashioned mums absolutely required the pinch or they'd get gangly. It's a whole new ball game, guys. Enjoy.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 5:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

I'm no expert, but agree with calliope. I have one similiar in shape to yours. I'd asked the cutting back question last year, since Mom always said "keep cutting back until 4th of July (you're right, Ken) but that was for ones that get all tall and leggy. I was told this type (or at least mine) is called a 'cushion mum' and bred to remain compact and rounded.

I never cut mine back (except for initial cutting it down after dying) and it blooms magnificantly throughout the season.

Here's a pic of mine (bad quality) late in the season (fall?) as it was dying off. You'll notice it did start to lay down and have a gap in the center, but because if you'll notice, there's a dark semi-circle thing above it which is a giant bush. And if I don't keep THAT trimmed back, it crowds out and shades the mum so it can't grow in a full 'cushion' shape. But other than that, you can see it kept its rounded shape all season, never got leggy.

I haven't tried the pinching back after first bloom but will try that this year, since later on it does start to look pretty shabby so TKS calliope for that hint!!

Also, just checked mine out and it's dead inside NOW but you say it's advised not to pinch back now. So I gather these types are not made to rebloom if I cut it back now?? (I'm sure you answered that, but can't see your response now).

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 5:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh, sure you can pinch it back now if you wish. You just can often get by without the obligatory pinching until early July. If yours is looking dead in the middle, then it's probably pretty woody on the stem in there. As the stems get woody, it becomes harder and harder for new growth to branch off of them and it'll likely splay out when it's loaded with flowers. As with any perennial with a crown and multiple stems branching from it, an old mum will often go 'dead' in the center. When that happens, it's time for some rejuvenation and if clipping it off doesn't work, splitting it or taking cuttings is another way to save the line.

A mum will bloom any time it's long night fulfillment is met, and there is no rule saying you can't enjoy them in June or July as well as fall. It's just possible to squeeze two bloomings out of the early varieties and I often did with unsold mums on the benches and ended up selling them later in fall.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 9:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

Cool !! Tks so much calliope !! I think I'll risk it now, since I did JUST trim those huge bushes back and now there's sun for the mum to get back to its fully rounded shape.

How much would you suggest clipping off....like 1/3, which if I do that, I'll probably end up with just the wood stems showing. And that being the case, can I clip it down further, watching for new growth and leaving that?

Tks again !!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 9:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hortster(6a, southcentral KS)

I have to go with Ken. Sure, it may depend on your location and zone as to if and when they will rebloom, but Independence Day (go, Will Smith) has been my deadline in zone 6A.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 10:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I guess I have mostly the old fashioned type because I had to cut mine back a couple of weeks ago when two of them were almost 3 ft tall. I have two others that were fairly short and had a few buds on them. I cut them all back. I prefer to have mums flowering in the fall. I planned it that way and have other plants flowering between now and then. Mums say 'fall' to me. [g] They actually look odd to me, blooming out of season. But I am curious and I would be interested to see photos from anyone that has a Mum that blooms in the summer and is cut back and reblooms in the fall.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 3:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i will add..

its very easy with mums..

and its not a matter of simply removing the buds.. or you will end up with a flopped plant like the pic above..

take one stem... trace down the stem.. at EVERY leaf node.. where it connects to the stem.. you will see a couple tiny leafs.. if you cut right above that.. a new stem will start ... right there

so you track down to the lowest couple leaves that show that little floret ... and cut..

this will cause the 2 or 3 buds below to break dormancy ... and for each one cut.. you get 2 or 3 more.. making it a very nice clump ... that can hold itself upright during the season ...

if you have more than one plant.. experiment ....


    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 7:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

I'm with Prairie above - mums scream fall to me :0)

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 1:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I make most of my plantings work to get out of them as much as they'll give and that includes mums to give me two seasons of bloom. I grow and sell mums with my Easter line, so those in soft pastels say "spring" to me. I know what you mean, however, because I have perennials planted so that there is some rhyme and reason to their bloom, and I do have a different palette blooming at each season of the year. To have a brilliant orange flower sitting in the middle of a pink or red themed bed would bother a lot of people. LOL.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 5:32PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
PSA: Please set up messaging feature in your profile!
Not sure if you guys are aware you are able to do this....
I got a bag of Astilbes from Costco, I'm in wa state...
E-mail from GW?
Did anyone else get an e-mail that was supposedly generated...
Before and After
By chance I came across this first photo just today....
Which are organic fertilizers and where to buy them.
I'm looking for some organic fertilizers which can...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™