Question of the Week: November 7, 2019
“Now that my mums are starting to turn brown, what should I do with them over the winter?”
You probably bought your mums in a local nursery a month or more ago. They were colorful for much of the ensuing time, but now their heads are turning pinkish-brown and unattractive. Even the leaves seem to be shriveling, and you’re wondering what you should do.
The answer is really quite simple. Look down near the ground and you’ll see small shoots starting to emerge from the base of each flowering stalk. Those will be next year’s stems, and you can actually remove everything down to them. Once they’re no longer attractive, trim off the spent flower heads and all of their stems. Do not trim any of the new clumps that have started to emerge. Leave perhaps 1 or 2 inches of each stalk to serve as markers over the winter.
And that’s it. The new clumps will sit there all winter before they spring out with new growth in March. If you intend to dig and divide your mums, you can either do so immediately after you trim off the dead stems, or you can wait until just before the new growth commences in late winter.