Just when other plants seem to call it quits in the cool Colorado weather, mums begin to hit their stride. According to Good Housekeeping, on average, garden mums will not start to set buds until the night lasts about 10 hours – typically sometime between September and October. Blooms will follow in the next six to 10 weeks. And as the colder weather intensifies, mums will keep their colors and blossoms until the first hard frost.

Though they are considered a hardier plant, mums do need specific care to add their brilliance to your landscape. Here are five common mistakes you might be making with these beautiful fall flowers.

1. Planting your Mum in a Small Pot

Mums need plenty of space to grow with lots of fresh soil. When you bring your plant home from the nursery, one of the best things you can do to keep the plant healthy is gently break up the root ball and add the mum to a large pot with fresh soil.

Mums can survive in most soils, but they thrive in well-draining soil with consistent moisture. If they’re in a pot with hard dry soil it prevents the roots from becoming well established.

2. Your Mums are Sitting in the Shade

Make sure your plant is placed in a sunny spot ­– they need enough sunlight to blossom. Our experts suggest that your mums get at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. The more light they receive, the better their growth, bloom and hardiness.

3. You’re Not Removing Wilted Flowers

Properly removing flowers as they start to wilt will encourage a second bloom. Deadhead spent blooms throughout the fall for an extended bloom time. Once the plant has died in the winter, instead of cutting it back, let it die naturally. Research shows that this will produce a stronger plant. And when spring rolls around, simply clean up the dead stems and foliage.

4. You Planted Your Mums Too Late

Planting your mums in the middle of fall lessens the chance of winter survival. The roots need time to establish themselves before heading into the harsh season. If you’re looking to add mums to your landscaping year-round, planting them before the first frost – along with your bulbs – or in the spring will allow them to get established.

5. You’re Not Watering Them Frequently

At the height of their summer season, your mums will need daily watering. Adding mulch around the plant will help keep the soil moist for a longer period of time. As the weather gets cooler you can water less frequently.

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