Do Mums Need to Be Covered for Frost Protection?

Do Mums Need to Be Covered for Frost?

Yes, mums should be covered for frost in order to protect them from damage.

Frost can harm mums if they are not properly covered or protected.

Hardy mums are more capable of withstanding frost compared to tender mums.

It is important to take proper care of mums to ensure they last through the winter and return in the spring.

This can involve covering them with tarps or blankets, moving potted mums under cover or into a collapsible greenhouse, and ensuring they are not pruned too aggressively.

Potted mums are more susceptible to frost damage than ground-planted mums.

Therefore, it is recommended to transfer potted mums to a protected area above freezing temperatures to safeguard them from frost.

Overall, it is essential to winterize mums to ensure their survival and blooming in the next season.

Key Points:

  • Mums should be covered for frost to prevent damage
  • Frost can harm mums if they are not protected
  • Hardy mums are more resistant to frost than tender mums
  • Proper care of mums is important for their winter survival and spring return
  • Methods of protection include covering with tarps or blankets, moving potted mums under cover, and avoiding aggressive pruning
  • Potted mums are more vulnerable to frost damage than ground-planted mums

Did You Know?

1. Mums, also known as chrysanthemums, are native to Asia and were first cultivated in China over 2,500 years ago. They were initially used for medicinal purposes and as a culinary delicacy, before becoming popular for ornamental purposes later on.

2. While mums are generally regarded as colorful fall flowers, some varieties are actually frost tolerant. This means they can withstand mild frosts without being damaged. Gardeners in cooler regions can enjoy their vibrant blooms well into the autumn season.

3. In Japan, chrysanthemums hold significant cultural importance and are recognized as the national flower. They are considered a symbol of the emperor and represent longevity, rejuvenation, and happiness. The Imperial Order of the Chrysanthemum is also Japan’s most prestigious order of chivalry.

4. Chrysanthemums have been scientifically proven to help improve air quality. They are known to purify the air by removing harmful toxins such as benzene, formaldehyde, and ammonia. Placing potted mums indoors can contribute to a healthier living environment.

5. Mums come in a vast array of colors, including shades of white, yellow, orange, red, pink, and purple. However, the elusive blue chrysanthemum remains a horticultural challenge. Despite years of selective breeding, achieving a true blue color is still a botanical feat that has not yet been accomplished with chrysanthemums.

Importance Of Covering Mums To Prevent Frost Damage

Winter frost can pose a significant threat to mums if they are not properly covered or protected. While hardy mums are better equipped to handle frost, tender mums require extra care to avoid damage. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) categorizes mums as able to survive in zones 5-9, indicating their sensitivity to cold temperatures. Without proper precautions, mums can suffer from frost damage, resulting in the loss of vibrant blooms and weakened overall health.

To safeguard mums from frost, it is essential to cover them adequately. One effective method is to use tarps or blankets to shield the plants from direct exposure to freezing temperatures. These covers create a barrier that traps heat and insulates the plants, ensuring their protection. In addition to covering the plants directly, moving potted mums under cover or into a collapsible greenhouse can offer an extra layer of defense against frost. By providing a controlled environment, the greenhouse can shield the plants from extreme cold while still allowing sunlight to reach them.

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It is worth noting that mums planted in pots are more susceptible to frost damage compared to those planted directly in the ground. The limited insulation provided by the containers makes potted mums more vulnerable to cold temperatures. Therefore, extra precaution should be taken when protecting potted mums from frost.

  • Use tarps or blankets to shield the plants
  • Move potted mums under cover or into a collapsible greenhouse

“Mums planted in pots are more vulnerable to frost damage”

Care Tips For Winter Survival Of Mums

Ensuring mums survive through winter and return in full bloom the following spring requires proper care and attention. Winterizing mums is crucial to their survival, especially in areas where temperatures drop below freezing. To prepare mums for the harsh winter conditions, several key steps should be taken.

First, it is essential to avoid cutting the stems of mums all the way to the ground during winter pruning. While trimming off spent flowers and dead foliage is normal during winter, cutting the stems too close to the ground can hinder the plant’s ability to regrow in the spring. Instead, leaving a few inches of the stems intact will provide a better chance for the plant’s resurgence.

For those living in regions with freezing temperatures, potted mums should be overwintered indoors. Transferring them to a protected area with temperatures above freezing is highly recommended. Before moving mums indoors, it is advisable to repot them into slightly larger containers with proper drainage. This will allow the plants to thrive and prevent root rot caused by waterlogged soil. Trimming the plants back and removing spent flowers before overwintering will also contribute to their overall health and vitality.

To provide nourishment during their dormant stage, slow-release, high phosphorus fertilizer can be applied to mums’ roots. This will enhance their ability to withstand winter conditions and promote strong growth in the following season. In spring, it is essential to remove winter mulches and prune away dead foliage to rejuvenate the plants. Gradually acclimating mums to outdoor conditions after the last risk of frost has passed will help them adjust and thrive in their natural environment.

Protecting Potted Mums From Frost With Tarps Or Greenhouses

Potted mums, due to their containerized nature, are more vulnerable to cold weather and frost damage. Therefore, taking extra precautions to shield them from freezing temperatures is crucial for their survival. While following the general care tips for mums mentioned earlier, there are specific strategies to protect potted mums from frost.

  • Covering potted mums with tarps or blankets is an effective way to shield them from frost. By wrapping the containers with these protective layers, the plants are insulated and kept away from direct contact with freezing air. This method creates a microclimate that traps heat and prevents frost from damaging the plant’s delicate tissues.

  • In addition to using tarps or blankets, another option is to move potted mums into a collapsible greenhouse or any sheltered area that provides a controlled environment. This protective measure ensures that the plants stay shielded from extreme weather conditions while still receiving adequate sunlight for photosynthesis. By replicating their natural habitat, potted mums are given the best chance to survive cold temperatures and emerge unscathed when spring arrives.

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Hardy Mums: Winter Survivors And Spring Perennials

Unlike their more delicate counterparts, hardy mums are well-equipped to endure winter and resurface in the spring as perennials. Their ability to withstand low temperatures makes them an excellent choice for regions with harsh winters. One such example is the Mammoth Daisy Coral mum, which is capable of thriving in Zone 3, an area typically associated with extremely cold climates.

Garden mums, which are classified as hardy down to Zone 4 by the USDA, are also resilient and adaptable. These mums require full sun and well-drained soil to flourish. By selecting hardy varieties and providing them with the right growing conditions, gardeners can witness their mums withstand winter’s chill and burst with vibrant blooms in the subsequent seasons.

Preparing Mums For Winter: Repotting And Fertilizing Tips

Preparing mums for winter begins with proper repotting and fertilizing. For mums cultivated in containers, it is vital to repot them into slightly larger containers with proper drainage before overwintering. This encourages healthy root growth and prevents waterlogging that would otherwise lead to root rot. By repotting, the plants are given space to expand their root systems, increasing their chances of survival during winter.

In terms of fertilization, using slow-release, high phosphorus fertilizer can greatly benefit mums. This type of fertilizer nourishes the roots and provides the necessary nutrients for the plants to withstand harsh winter conditions. The high phosphorus content promotes strong root development and stimulates flower production once spring arrives.

As winter transitions into spring, it is crucial to remove any winter mulches and prune away dead foliage. This encourages new growth and allows the mums to flourish. Gradual acclimatization to outdoor conditions should also be practiced, especially after the last frost has passed. By following these recommended steps, gardeners can ensure their mums experience a smooth transition from winter dormancy to vibrant spring blooms.


The survival and overall health of mums during winter greatly depend on proper care and protection. Covering mums with tarps or blankets, moving potted mums under cover or into a collapsible greenhouse, and choosing hardy varieties are essential steps in preventing frost damage. Winterizing potted mums through repotting, pruning, and fertilization is crucial for their survival and future blooming. By following these guidelines, gardeners can enjoy vibrant and flourishing mums in the spring, ensuring their gardens are filled with colorful beauty year after year.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can mums be exposed to frost?

Mums, though generally hardy and resilient, can indeed be vulnerable to frost. Despite their ability to endure cool temperatures, a single frosty night can spell trouble for these flowers. It is essential for mum enthusiasts to take precautions to extend the lifespan of these beautiful blooms.

1. What are the best methods to protect mum plants from frost damage?

To protect mum plants from frost damage, there are a few effective methods. Firstly, you can cover the plants with a frost cloth or fabric. This helps to create a barrier between the plants and the freezing temperatures, keeping them insulated. Make sure the cloth is supported by stakes or hoops to avoid direct contact with the foliage. Additionally, mulching around the base of the plants can provide insulation by reducing heat loss from the soil. Apply a thick layer of mulch, such as straw or bark, around the mums to help maintain soil temperature and protect the roots from freezing.

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Another method is to water the plants thoroughly before the frosty weather arrives. Moist soil retains heat better than dry soil, so providing ample moisture prior to freezing temperatures can help protect mums. However, it is essential to avoid overwatering, as excessive moisture can lead to other issues like root rot. Additionally, placing the potted plants closer to the warmth of the house or in a sheltered location, such as against a wall or under a tree, can provide some protection from the cold.

2. Are there specific types of mums that are more resilient to frost, and if so, what are they?

Yes, there are specific types of mums that are more resilient to frost. One such variety is the hardy garden mum, also known as the chrysanthemum x morifolium. These mums are bred to withstand colder temperatures and can tolerate light frost without significant damage. Other frost-resistant mum varieties include the Korean mum (chrysanthemum x rubellum) and the Japanese mum (chrysanthemum nipponicum). These mums have thicker foliage and stronger stems, making them better able to withstand colder temperatures and frost. However, it’s important to note that while these mums are more resilient, severe or prolonged frost can still cause damage, so providing some protection during extremely cold weather is advisable.

3. What are the consequences of leaving mums uncovered during a frost, and how can it affect their overall health and growth?

Leaving mums uncovered during a frost can have several consequences that affect their overall health and growth. The first consequence is the damage to the plant’s leaves and stems from freezing temperatures. Frost can cause the water inside the plant cells to freeze, leading to cell damage and tissue death. This can result in wilting, browning, and ultimately, the death of the plant.

The second consequence is the impact on the plant’s root system. During frost, the soil can freeze, making it difficult for the plant to absorb water and nutrients. This can lead to dehydration, nutrient deficiency, and stunted growth. Additionally, if the roots are exposed to freezing temperatures for an extended period, they may suffer from freeze damage, reducing their ability to support the plant’s growth and overall health.

To protect mums from frost, it is advisable to cover them with a frost cloth or blanket. This covering creates a barrier between the plant and the freezing temperatures, helping to maintain a more stable temperature around the plant. It also helps trap heat radiating from the ground, providing some insulation. Additionally, watering the mums before a frost can help protect the roots by keeping the soil warmer for a longer duration.

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