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Do Mums Need to Be Covered for Frost? (Explained)

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Chrysanthemums or mums are among the most loved ornamental plants of summer and fall. They are known for their wide variety of colors and hardiness. Although, they need proper care to thrive in all seasons. So, are you thinking about what you can do to protect your mums from winter? Will covering them help surviving? Keep reading to know all about protecting mums from frost.

Will frost hurt your mums?

Frost can hurt your mums, but you can save your mums in the winter with some simple protective steps. There are many different species of mums. Some of them do great in the winter, some are heat tolerant, and some are versatile species.

Most of the mums will get damaged in the frost without any protection, but still, some may survive and regrow in the spring season. Generally, mums can withstand a wide range of temperatures.

But as there are many mum species and environmental factors can affect them differently, a detailed discussion is essential to understand their behavior in the winter. Keep reading to get a clear idea about mums in winter.

Do mums need to be covered for frost?

Garden mums need to be covered for frost. But you need to focus on their root more than the upper part. Four-inch mulch cover can protect the mum roots from freezing. After the winter pass, the mums will regrow from the roots. Covering mum plants with sheets can also be helpful.

Those short explanations above can seem confusing if you don’t have much idea about mums. Let’s break everything down to make everything clear.

The name mums came from Chrysanthemums spp. The spp part means the family of chrysanthemums which indicates there are a lot of variants of chrysanthemums or mums.

Firstly we can divide mums species into two subtypes. They can be perennial and annual. Perennial plants can live for many years, while annual plants can live for one year or season.

Perennial mums are known as garden mums. They are more common and widely planted by gardeners. They bloom from summer to fall and become dormant when the first heavy fall starts.

If the root system is stable and the ground does not freeze, the dormant mum’s root will regrow in the springtime.

Now let’s talk about annual mums a bit. Annual mums live only for one season and parish after the winter comes. So, there is no need to protect them from the winter frost. In this article,  we will focus on the perennial mums more.

Do mum needs to be covered from frost? Yes, you need to cover the soil with four to five-inch mulch. The mulch will work as an insulator and protect the ground from freezing.

You can also cover the plants with sheets to protect them from going dormant in the early winter. This type of cover is necessary when the plants regrow at the end of winter, and suddenly a frost happens.

Let’s find out if those mums’ species of planting technique need cover in the frost.

Potted mums:

Potted mums do not regrow after the winter season in small pots. Those plants need proper root development to survive in the winter, and it does not usually happen in small pots. Therefore, you don’t need to cover the ground in the winter.

Fall mums:

Fall mums are annual, and they don’t survive the winter frost. They are planted in the summer or spring, and they perish in the winter season. So you don’t need any cover for them.

Garden mums:

Garden mums need special care in the winter season. Cover the ground with mulch, and if frost happens.

How cold is too cold for mums?

No cold is too cold if the solid does not freeze. But around 20 degrees below zero Fahrenheit is the least temperature where most mums can live.

As we mentioned earlier, many species of mums come with different flower colors, leaf shapes, and weather tolerance. So, naturally, some mums can live in very cold temperatures, and some are not much cold tolerant.

However, most local nurseries will keep the best types of mums that suit the local weather. That’s why you don’t need to think much about the species. Garden mums are pretty hardy with minimum care. As long as you cover the ground with mulch, the mums’ roots will be protected, and the plant will grow again in the spring.

Do I need to bring in my mums for frost?

If you have pot mums, you can consider keeping them inside, depending on the weather condition. If you buy some pot mums and light spring frost happens, you should keep the pot mums indoors.

However, pot mums do not usually regrow in the spring, which needs a wide root development.

As pot mums root can’t go deep and wide inside a pot, they don’t regrow in a pot after the dormant stage. So, keeping pot mums inside is not necessary in early winter.

Should you replan garden mums in the pot and bring them inside? No, that will decrease the chance of their survival. Protect their root from the frost, and hopefully, the mums will regrow in the spring.

What is the best time to plant mums? The best time to plant garden mums is the early spring. Planting the mums just after winter passes allows them to settle down in the soil and grow a strong root system which will help them survive frost in the following winter.

Spring is also a good time for planting pots and annual mums.

What do you cover mums with for frost?

Covering your mums in the frost is essential to keep them alive in the winter. Mums become dormant in heavy frost. However, the problem is if they stay in the dormant stage for very long, the roots can rot.

So, for that reason, you should keep them alive for at least the first few frost waves. By doing that, you minimize their dormant stage and maximize the chance of survival. But what can you use to cover them?

Anything that provides direct contact with frost will help, but some insulation will work best to keep the mums alive. Check out some things you can use to cover the mums in the winter.


Mulch is readily available everywhere and works great to protect the plants and soil from frost. It protects from the frost, but it’s essential for its insulating characteristics. In the next section of the article, we will discuss protecting your mums from frost in winter.


Cover the mums with a sheet to keep the mums safe from the frost. The sheet will protect the mums from direct contact with the snow. Is plastic a good option to cover the mums’ plant? We don’t recommend using plastic sheets as it does not let the air flow freely. A cloth sheet, newspaper or even a cardboard box will work fine to protect your plants.

Little greenhouse:

Make a greenhouse-like structure and cover it with sheets to make a moveable greenhouse. This will work if you have a small garden.

How to cover mums for frost?

Strategies of covering mums for the frost depend on two things. The first one is how big your garden is and the second one is what you have to cover the mums? Here is the step-by-step process of protecting mums.

Find a cover:

Check your old cloth boxes or storage room to find something you can use to protect your mums’ plants. It can be old bedsheets, newspapers or cardboard boxes. Gather some rope and sticks if you can.

Gather mulch:

Gather some mulch or similar substrate that will provide insulation.

Cover the ground:

Cover the ground with 4-5 inches of mulch. It will protect the soil from freezing.

Cover the plants:

Use a sheet to cover the mums’ plants. You can use the stick and ropes to make a structure that can help protect the mums without putting weight on the plant.

Add Mulch :

If a heavy frost comes, you can add some mulch over the cover for extra insulation.

How to keep your mums thriving all season?

Mums are easy to keep in all season. Water the plants every day in the dry season. Overwatering can be harmful to them. They can live in very hot weather if you water them well. Make sure the soil have enough nutrient for the mums. Protect their roots from frost in the winter.

By taking those simple steps, you will be able to keep the mums thriving all seasons.

Final Thoughts

Mums plants need cover from the frost, but they ultimately enter the dormant stage in the winter. Protecting them from frost is essential to keep them active for a few early frost waves. Mums root needs a 4-5 inch mulch cover to protect it from freezing.

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