Can Wilten Mums Be Saved? What You Need To Know


Whether you’re a backyard gardener, a passionate plant-lover, or someone who’s quite experienced in gardening, having your mums die on you unexpectedly and suddenly can be quite frustrating. In the unfortunate event that you face this scenario, it can be helpful to know whether there is something you can do to save your mums. Can wilted mums be saved?

Wilted mums can be saved in many cases. However, intense care needs to be provided to the wilting mums before they pass the point of no return. The amount of time passed under damaging conditions and the severity of damage are both key factors in determining whether your mums can be saved or not.

In this article, I will discuss in more detail how you can tell whether your mums can be saved or not and how you should go about saving them. I will also inform you of the most common reasons for wilting.

How To Tell if Your Mums Can Be Saved

The frustration you would be experiencing because of the loss of your mums and the potential wastage of your effort might be driving you to dispose of your wilted mums immediately. They look lifeless and dead, after all. Well, don’t be so sure just yet.

Even though you can get a pretty good idea of the state of your mums just by getting an exterior look at them, you can’t know for sure that they’re past the point of saving. As you will soon learn, it’s important that you do know for sure before disposing of your mums once and for all.

There is a decent chance that your mums are still kicking. With proper care and attention, even mums on the brink of death can quickly be nursed back to full health and glory.

Here is what you can do to get a much better idea of whether attempting to save your mums is worth the effort or not:

  1. Examine the leaves.
  2. Examine the roots.

Unfortunately, even the most intense nursing and care practices won’t bring back mums that have died.

1. Examine the Leaves

Let’s start with the most straightforward tip: examine the leaves closely. Unhealthy leaves are one of the telltale signs of poor mum health. If all of the leaves are dry and brown, or worse yet, crispy, the plant has likely died. However, if you happen to notice small green leaves or live buds somewhere in the lifeless foliage, there is still hope.

2. Examine the Roots

The next step in your assessment would be to examine the roots of the mum. There are two ways you can go about doing this. You can completely remove your mums from the soil (keep in mind that you would have to replant them shortly after if they turn out to be alive) or simply remove the soil from around where you would expect the roots to be while letting the plant stay in place. 

Roots that are brown and dry almost certainly mean that the mum has died. White roots, on the other hand, mean that the plant is alive and can likely be saved.

Unfortunately, root health can be difficult to assess, practically speaking. It might also be harder for beginner gardeners to judge how healthy the roots appear to be.

What Can Be Causing Your Mums to Wilt

Knowing what caused your mums to wilt will allow you to better decide on the best way to save them. If something in particular, such as disease, is the cause of damage, you would be able to treat it using ingredients and remedies tailor-made to fight disease.

These are the most common causes of wilten mums:

  • Insufficient watering
  • Insufficient sunlight
  • Poor soil quality
  • Pests and disease

Below I will discuss each of these causes in greater detail.

Insufficient Watering

The best way to tell whether your mums are receiving enough water is to observe how dry they are. Forgetting to water your mums for an extended period of time or simply not giving them enough water can lead to this scenario.

I should probably mention here that overwatering, while less common, is also sometimes an issue. Make sure your soil does not retain too much water.

Insufficient Sunlight

Mums are sun-loving plants. They need at least six hours of sunlight a day for adequate growth and development. While they can survive indoors on less than six hours of sunlight a day (think around two or three) or by receiving indirect sunlight, they grow up to be noticeably smaller and less healthy. Receiving little to no sunlight at all, however, can cause mums to die sooner than they should.

I should mention here that while you can leave your mums out all day to receive sunlight, there is a caveat: Mums do not do well in temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live somewhere where temperatures regularly exceed that, consider providing your mums with partial shade. Alternatively, if they are potted, you can bring them indoors during the afternoon.

Poor Soil Quality

Soil quality makes a world of difference in the plant world. Mums require nutritious soil that is also well-draining so that it doesn’t retain water. The ideal soil pH for mums is 6.5-7.0; however, 6.0 to 8.0 is the acceptable range.

Going beyond this results in stunted growth and poor health, mainly because mums (and all plants, in general) cannot effectively derive nutrients from the soil outside of their ideal soil pH range.

To learn more about soil pH and how it could be affecting your mums, check out this article: Do Mums Like Acidic Soil? The Facts Explained

Pests and Disease

The pests that commonly target mums tend to be small and hard to notice. You will have to examine the leaves of your mums carefully to have a chance of noticing them. The most common pests found on mums are mites, aphids, and leaf miners.

A practical way of checking for pests is to position a piece of clear white paper underneath the plant and shake it. If you see moving red and black dots on the white paper (the white paper makes it easier to spot them), you may have a pest issue.

Unfortunately, pests can come hand in hand with diseases. Diseases will show a variety of symptoms, including wilting. Fungal diseases are particularly easy to spot and treat. 

How To Save Wilten Mums

If in your examination you find that there are signs of life in the plant, there are steps you can take to save them. The good news is, if your mums are indeed alive, it is not unlikely that they will be able to make a complete recovery, given that they are provided appropriate treatment and care.

It can be helpful to narrow down what caused your mums to wilt in the first place so that you can respond appropriately. However, in most cases, the following are steps you will want to take to help you in reviving your wilted mums.

  1. Water your mums. One of the most common causes of wilting mums is not having sufficient quantities of water and drying up. Watering once every day should suffice under standard conditions, but consult an expert for your particular area.
  2. Give your mums as much sunlight as possible. This is particularly crucial if they receive little to no sunlight in their current placement. If you have indoor potted mums, place them near a window.
  3. Address and exterminate pests. If you notice the presence of pests, use insecticides to get rid of them. The health of your mums should improve once the pests have been dealt with.
  4. Treat any present diseases. Fungal diseases can easily be treated using antifungals; unfortunately, viral infections do not have direct cures. Proper handling and boosting your plant’s health by making sure other factors are paid attention to is the way to deal with these infections.
  5. Remove diseased parts, if necessary. In the case of viral infections such as leaf spot disease and rust, you may have to remove parts of the infected plant so that the infection does not spread further.
  6. Try deadheading. For wilting mums, deadheading can prove to be very effective. Regularly remove dead flowers and leaves so that the mum does not waste energy on them and instead focuses on growing new ones. Deadheading is known to encourage plant growth, and mums are no exception to this popular and effective practice.
  7. Adjust soil pH. Ensure that your soil has a pH of no less than six and no greater than eight. If it is out of bounds, use remedial ingredients to bring the pH to acceptable levels. You should be aiming for a pH of 6.5 to 7.0 if you intend to use remedial ingredients. 

Final Thoughts

Wilten mums can often be saved with appropriate care and treatment methods. However, it is possible for them to go past the point of no return. Therefore, it is important you check for signs of life, such as new and budding leaves and healthy roots, before beginning the revival process. 

There are several reasons for mums wilting prematurely, such as inadequate water levels or sunlight, poor quality soil, and pests and disease. 

Fortunately, there are numerous steps you can take to save your mums, which generally involve fighting against causes of wilting and taking steps to improve health.

You can read my other article on the reasons why your potted mums are dying here: 8 Reasons Why Your Potted Mums Are Dying

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of TheGrowingLeaf.com, 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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