How to Prune Mums 

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How to Prune Mums

Mums are a beautiful addition to any garden, and with a little TLC, they can last for many months. However, in order to keep your mums looking their best, you’ll need to prune them regularly. Here are some tips on how to prune mums so that they’ll continue to bloom throughout the spring and summer!

How to Keep Mums From Getting Too Big

Mums may begin to grow in a bush-like manner after sprouting in the early spring. However, depending on the climate and the surroundings, certain kinds will start flowering too early and grow rather tall and slim if allowed to develop normally without any clipping.

When this happens, the weight of the blooms on the stems frequently causes the branches to tumble over. To prevent this from occurring and to maintain a compact shape with more branching, pinch the mums back starting in the early spring and continuing through the middle of the summer.

However, you are under no obligation to pinch or prune moms. If you don’t prune, you might only get a brief summer bloom period, and you might need to utilize plant supports to prevent lanky stems from toppling over all season.

Pinching Your Mums

Here are some helpful hints if you decide to pinch your mums. Although the pinching technique may appear extreme, the end result will be bushy, well-shaped plants that bloom in the fall.

First Pinching 

Start pinching the stems when the plants have grown to a height of about 6 inches in the spring. Then, simply pinch off a stem between your thumb and index finger that is 2 to 3 inches above the plant’s base and just above a leaf to pull them back.

Second Pinching 

New stems will start to grow right below where you first pinched the plants after the initial pinch. When new young stems are 6 inches long, nip them back slightly above a leaf by 2 to 3 inches. Repeat this procedure for each of the plant’s stems.

Repeating The Pinching Process

You can keep doing this up until mid-July, after which you can stop and let the plant grow and develop buds that will blossom in the fall. However, any time after mid-July, pruning back may result in fewer flower buds.

If you’re reading this post in early June or in the middle of July, you haven’t done any pruning, and your mums are tall and skinny, that’s ok! You may simply prune them by cutting them back by approximately a third to a half. This should make the plant grow more densely and produce fall blooms.

After The Fall Bloom

Cut the dead stems back to just above the ground in the fall after your mums are done blooming, and the foliage has become fully dormant. However, northern gardeners might leave the dead stems in place to protect the roots from cold winter conditions.

Regardless of the temperature where you plant, it’s a good idea to cover the roots of your mums with a 2-inch layer of pine straw or shredded wood mulch throughout the winter. To ensure that new growth can emerge in the spring unharmed, be sure to remove mulch from plants that have it directly on top in late winter or early spring.


Mums offer beauty to any garden and, with a bit of care, can last for several months!

In order to keep your mums looking their best, you’ll need to prune them regularly – removing any dead or damaged stems, pruning the plants back by about one-third, pinching off any buds that are not yet open, and watering and fertilizing regularly.

Doing this will encourage new buds to form and keep your mums blooming throughout the spring and summer!

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