How to Prune Mums: A Complete Guide

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Mums with their vibrant bursts of fall color, can transform your garden into a lively spectacle. But to ensure they reach their full blooming potential, mastering pruning is a must. In our full pruning guide, we’ll walk you through the when, why, and how of pruning mums. Grab your gardening gloves and let’s learn how to prune mums!

When and Why to Cut Back Mums

While many enjoy the vibrant hues of mums in autumn, these seasonal beauties can be perennials with proper care. Come spring, it’s prime time for mum pruning. Trimming away dead foliage and shaping new growth within a couple of inches of the soil surface is key. By banishing dry, brittle material, you make room for fresh vitality.

Late-planted potted mums might struggle through winter, as roots need time to adapt. Yet, those planted in spring or summer have a fighting chance to thrive. Embrace spring as the season of mum renewal, nurturing their resilience for a perennial display of garden charm.

The Tools You’ll Need

Before you start your pruning adventure, gather the essential tools to make the process smooth and efficient:

  1. Pruning Shears: A sharp pair of pruning shears is your go-to tool for removing smaller branches and spent blooms.
  2. Gloves: Protect your hands from thorns and rough branches with a sturdy pair of gardening gloves.

Ensure your tools are clean and well-maintained to prevent the spread of diseases between plants.


How to Prune Mums


Long story short, deadheading is the secret to their ongoing beauty. It is the key to maintaining a neat appearance and promoting continuous blooms. Those old, spent flowers should be gracefully removed, allowing new buds to shine. It’s not just about aesthetics; it’s a strategic move.

  1. Inspect your mum for fading or wilted blooms. They’ve done their job; it’s time to bid them farewell.
  2. Using your clean and sharp pruning shears, pinch or snip the spent blooms just above a healthy set of leaves or buds. This will help rejuvenate your mums because they can focus their energy on fresh growth.
  3. Keep the deadheading going throughout the blooming season. By removing the old, you’re signaling to your mum that it’s time to show off some new blooms.

Pruning Mums After Blooming

Once the foliage is completely dormant, trim dead stems just above the ground and remove all the faded flowers. However, northern gardeners may consider leaving the dead stems as winter insulation for the roots.


Post-pruning care is vital for the overall health and vitality of your camellias:

  1. Watering: Provide a deep watering after pruning to help the plant recover. Camellias prefer moist but well-draining soil.
  2. Fertilization: In the spring, show your mum some love with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer. Follow the instructions for the right dosage, and watch those buds bloom.
  3. Monitor for Pests and Diseases: Look for any signs of pests or diseases. Early detection allows for prompt treatment and prevention.

With the right tools, a bit of know-how, and a sprinkle of love, your mums will steal the spotlight in your garden. So, embrace pruning, and let your mums bloom like never before!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I keep my mums from getting so tall?

If you want to keep your mums small, you can pinch them regularly until early July. Just cut the upper 1 to 2 inches of the shoots.

Where do you cut deadhead mums?

When deadheading mums, you want to cut about 2 inches below the flower. This way the cut part of the stem stays hidden and still looks neat.

When is the best time to prune mums?

The best time to trim your mums is in spring before new growth starts. Cut about two inches from the ground, removing any dry and brittle stems. If the mum stem bends instead of snapping, it’s not dead and might come back.

How often should I prune my mums?

Pruning your mums annually is fine (in spring, before new growth starts), but to keep it small and tidy, you can pinch it regularly until early July. After July, it’s best to let your mums grow without further trimming to ensure a stunning autumn display.

Can I prune my mums in the winter?

You can prune your mums in winter before or after the threat of frost. Don’t prune in freezing conditions, and if you pruned before the frost, use mulch to keep it sheltered.