Can Potted Mums Be Placed in the Shade?

Mums are beautiful flowers that have captivated people for years, and potted mums let you take that beauty into your own home. However, in order to grow this flower successfully indoors, you need to create the right conditions for this plant. You may be wondering if a shady area of your home would be suitable for your potted mums.

Potted mums shouldn’t be placed in the shade, requiring at least six hours of sunlight daily to flourish to their fullest potential. If mums get less sunlight exposure, they may grow tall and leggy with fewer, less full flowers.

Read on for more information about the conditions that mums like, including how much sunlight exposure they need to grow. I’ll also give you more tips on how to grow this flower successfully, including how to transplant potted mums to your garden outdoors and how to help your outdoor mums survive through the winter. 

Ideal Conditions for Potted Mums

Giving your mums the best chance of growing successfully is all about creating the ideal conditions that this plant loves. That includes getting adequate sunlight for your mums, but also requires you to provide the right level of moisture and the proper care these flowers require. I’ll cover tips for each of these aspects of caring for your mums below.

Getting Enough Sunlight

Mums are a plant that requires full sunlight to thrive to their fullest. That means they do best when exposed to at least six hours of sunlight every day in order to give them the energy needed to produce the nutrients they need to grow. 

You can check out this guide to get more information about the terminology used to describe how much sunlight your potted plants need, as well as examples of which plants require what level of lighting.

In order to give your indoor potted mums the lighting they require, place them in an area of your house that is exposed to plenty of sunlight throughout the day. A windowsill with minimal blockage outside can create these ideal conditions. They don’t necessarily need to be exposed to sunlight 24 hours a day, but at least 6 hours of full, direct sunlight should be enough to keep your mums thriving.

Four hours of sunlight exposure is the bare minimum you should shoot for, but ideally, your mums should be exposed to at least six hours of sunlight.

Providing the Right Water Level

Hydration is crucial for growing any plant successfully. While different plants have various tolerance levels for how long they can go with a lack of water, all plants need to be watered to some degree to survive. When it comes to mums in particular, these flowers require plenty of moisture but don’t do well in soil that is completely saturated with water.

To find this ideal balance for your mums, it helps to plant them in soil that has a good drainage system. This will allow the plant to gather the water it needs while letting excess water drain out to prevent overwatering the plants. 

Adding a layer of sand or grit to your soil can improve its drainage to help towards that end. Check the soil of your mums regularly throughout the day to ensure it remains moist at all times to give your mums optimal conditions for growth.

Prune Away Fading Flowers

Every new growth of a plant requires energy to sustain it. That includes the beautiful flowers that bloom on your mums, which need a significant investment of energy and nutrients to grow to their fullest. Once the flower has reached the end of its blooming cycle and begins to fade, pruning the faded flower away will stop the plant from wasting energy on it, allowing those resources to be used where they’re more needed.

Use sharp pruning shears to cut your plants cleanly to avoid causing any unintentional damage that might stunt their growth. Simply place the sharp blade at the base of the bloom and clip away the faded flower to help your mums use energy more wisely.

Other Tips for Growing Mums

Want more advice on how to grow your mums successfully and enjoy the beautiful blooms this plant is known for? Follow this advice to help your mums grow strong, healthy, and beautiful.

Avoid Your Mums Becoming Rootbound

Mums are plants with fairly extensive root systems, allowing them to derive plenty of nutrients from the soil they grow in. However, this extensive root system can cause potted mums to become rootbound. This prevents the soil the potted mums are growing in from retaining enough soil to stimulate the plant’s healthy growth.

Planting your mums in a container that leaves them plenty of room to grow will help avoid this issue. Occasionally repotting the mums and carefully disentangling the roots as you do so will provide further support for your plants as their life goes on. This will help you keep the soil’s moisture at an ideal level.

How To Transplant Mums to the Garden

While mums add a great accent to your interior design, you may decide it’s time to move your indoor potted mums to your landscape outside to add some eye-catching appeal to your garden. The good news is that it’s fairly simple to transplant your potted mums into an outdoor space.

First, find a place in your garden that gets adequate sunlight and has soil with decent drainage but that can retain some water to give the mums the moisture level they need. Amending clay soil with grit or stone can increase its drainage. Then dig a hole wide enough for the existing roots and carefully move your mums in. Thoroughly water the flowers to get them started in their new location.

Winterize Your Outdoor Mums

Mums are quite hardy flowers. If you grow your mums outdoors, they may survive through the winter to grow once again the following year. Although the plants may not survive if the soil drainage is poor or if they’re exposed to particularly frigid winter temperatures, you may see new growth begin to develop where the plant is growing the following spring.

To give your mums the best chance of making it through the winter, you can winterize them before the cold weather begins. Add a layer of mulch with straw or shredded hardwood up to four inches (10 cm) thick around the plants and snip off any of the blooms that are still lingering to help the plant preserve energy. Ideally, this will keep your mums safe through the winter months and let you enjoy them again the following season.

Plants To Grow With Mums

Now that you know a bit more about how to grow mums properly, you may be wondering what plants to pair with your mums to make the most of the flower’s attractive appearance and accent it in a complimentary way. Mums make the ideal addition to an autumnal array, creating that welcoming atmosphere that makes the fall feel so special.

To complement your mums perfectly, place them alongside other fall flowers such as autumn crocus or New England aster. Other plants, such as corn stalks, pumpkins, or other decorative gourds also make a perfect addition to your fall cornucopia. The right arrangement adds the ideal welcoming atmosphere to your fall holiday get-together or other social event.


When you provide them with enough water and plenty of sunlight, potted mums add a beautiful splash of color to your home. They make a great addition to any fall flower arrangement and can also be easily moved outdoors if you decide you want to enhance the appearance of your garden.

Caring for mums requires some upkeep, as you need to maintain the bright and moist conditions this flower enjoys. You may also need to repot mums to avoid the plant becoming rootbound, and clipping away old growths can also help this flower thrive to its fullest potential.

You can read my other article on whether potted mums can survive in the shade here: Can Potted Mums Survive in the Shade?

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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