How to pinch back mums

Chrysanthemums, also called garden mums, are a popular perennial plant that adds autumn color to landscape design. Blooms of white, yellow, orange, red or burgundy mix well with pumpkins that decorate our home and front entry.

Why pinch back mums

Mums sprout in early spring and grow in a bush-like fashion. Left un-pruned, the mum plant can develop a gapping center as the weight of the flowers and leaves on the stems causes them to fall over. To prevent that possibility and maintain a compact shape with more branching, pinch back mums starting in early spring and continue pinching back into mid-summer.
When and how to pinch back mums

Pinching back (also called pruning) should first occur in April or May when the stems of new growth of the mums are about 5 inches tall. With the stem in hand, place your index finger and thumb about 2 inches from the base of the stem and just above a leaf. Use your thumb (fingernail too if needed) to pluck off the stem just above a leaf. Continue this process for each stem of the plant. As the mum grows and again reaches about 5 inches in height, repeat the pinching back process on each of the stems.

Discontinue pinching or pruning the stems by mid-July to ensure a large robust blooming plant in the fall.

Mums surrounded by Russian sage, pansy, and sweet alyssum