Are Mums Perennials or Annuals?

Perennial plants are perennials because they come back year after year. Annuals may flower and die each year, but the plant is only one season’s work—it doesn’t survive over a span of years like perennial plants do.

Annuals grow for one year and then die, while perennials live for more than two years.

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Florist moms, also known as potted mums, and garden mums, also known as hardy mums, are the two most common forms of mothers. The majority of florist mums are annuals, however potted mums may be perennial, depending on where you live and when you purchase and/or plant them. These two requirements have no effect on garden mums, which are perennials.

Mums are a vast group with a wide range of variants. Some are seasonal, some are permanent, while yet others are yearly. Some mums are perennial, while others are not.

What Mums Return Year After Year?

If planted and maintained for correctly, both potted and garden/hardy mums will return year after year. Mums (officially classed as chrysanthemums) come in hundreds of cultivated variations and even 40 wild species.


Mums are one of the most popular flower kinds, valued for their vibrant colors and durability. They also have the advantage of reducing pollution and being pest-resistant.

Do Potted Mums Return Year After Year?

If properly maintained for and repotted in a suitably sized container after purchase, potted mums may return year after year.

It’s essential to note, however, that potted mums are more delicate than garden mums. They won’t survive being planted in the backyard and will very certainly need to be taken inside for the winter. This is particularly true if you reside in an area with a harsh winter (below than 32 degrees Fahrenheit) or frequent nighttime frost.

Because of their fragility, florist mums are increasingly being grown and marketed as annuals. Many plants no longer generate subterranean runners, endangering an already vulnerable (and shallow) root system.

How to Grow Florist Mums Year After Year

Here are some suggestions for keeping florist mums alive throughout the year and increasing their chances of becoming perennials:


  • Place them in a container that is one to two inches bigger than they are (so for a six-inch mum, that would involve a seven- or eight-inch pot)
  • If you’re going to put them outside, make sure they get at least five hours of morning sun or shaded afternoon sun; if you’re going to put them inside, make sure they get at least six hours of indirect light.
  • When they’re outside, water them often to keep the roots from drying out; inside, check the first inch of dirt periodically and reduce watering as needed.
  • Make sure the container has enough drainage to prevent the mums’ roots from resting in water, which may lead to root rot.
  • Avoid putting them near air vents, since direct heat (during the mild months) or air conditioning (during the hot months) might harm their development.

When to Buy Mums in the Fall

If at all feasible, purchase and plant mums in the early spring. Mums begin to emerge in shops for many people around September and October. Planting mums during these months, on the other hand, gives the root systems little time to develop themselves before winter.

This may need purchasing your mothers on the internet. Alternatively, ask local nurseries and gardening stores to see whether they have mums in stock year-round rather than just during the holiday season.

When Should You Plant Hardy Mums?

Mums should be planted in the spring if you want them to survive the winter and come back as perennials. Mums planted in the early fall have a chance of surviving, but it’s unlikely.

It’s best if you can buy them and plant them as soon as possible. Early spring is preferable, particularly if you reside in Zones 4–5. (i.e., a cold region). In most areas, the latest you can plant hardy mums and expect them to thrive is September.

Mums as Perennials: How to Grow Them

It’s critical to plant mums as soon as possible if you want them to become perennials and survive the winter. The more time they have to establish themselves, the better their chances of surviving the winter and returning the next year. Another important consideration is that they have adequate drainage.

Mums, like many other flowers and plants, need proper drainage to thrive. This implies that when planting the mums, you’ll need to add compost to your soil mixture. Mulch also helps to insulate the roots of mums, which are naturally shallow. In most cases, two inches is sufficient to drain and protect.

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Mulch is more more important in locations where the soil is naturally clay-rich to ensure the survival of your mothers. It’s safer to use a three-inch coating in these regions.

When winter hits, cover the plant with extra mulch (three to four inches), being careful to get it between the stems for further protection. In addition to the mulch, other natural insulation like as straw or shredded bark might be beneficial.

How to Grow Garden Mums Year After Year

Other suggestions for growing mums as perennials include: 

  • Select a sunny location with at least six hours of direct sunshine every day.
  • When planting, be sure to follow the spacing instructions and allow your mums plenty of space to flourish.
  • Keep your mums wet but not soggy to keep them from withering.
  • Use a 5-10-10 or 10-10-10 delayed release fertilizer in the spring.

If you succeed in growing mums as perennials, you’ll need to split them in the spring to keep them from becoming overcrowded. A sharp instrument, such as a trowel or garden knife, is used to chop off a stem, including the roots. Then, in a free portion of the garden, plant them and continue to care for them as normal.

Are Mums Annuals or Perennials?

Annuals only grow for one season, but perennials grow every year. Mums are perennials that will bloom in the spring for many years if they are well-cared for during the winter. Annuals must be planted every year, whereas perennials can be left alone for years. Mums, in particular, may live for three to five years.

Both perennials and annuals have advantages and disadvantages. Mums, for example, return year after year, saving you the trouble of regularly purchasing and planting fresh flowers. However, they need more maintenance, particularly when preparing for the winter.

We also discuss Are Dahlias Perinnials if you’re curious about different plants.


Hardy mums are perennials, meaning that they will live for years. Annuals, on the other hand, die after one season. Reference: hardy mums perennials.

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