Like all plants, chrysanthemums only grow when a few basic requirements are fulfilled, including proper soil, water, food and light. The light exposure of a mum plant determines how quickly, how fully and how beautiful the flowers of the plant bloom, and only through proper light exposure can you ensure that the mums will live up to their full potential.
Minimum Light Requirements
To achieve their full growing potential, mums require full sunlight exposure. In the plant world, a "full sun" plant requires six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day to grow to their fullest. Therefore, mums thrive best in a wide-open area of your garden with no overhanging branches or tall shrubs nearby that can shade the plant. Set indoor mums in an east- or west-facing window so that they get direct sun in the morning or afternoon. You can even move plants outdoors during part of the day to ensure that they get appropriate sunlight.
Results of Low Light
The highlight requirement for mums will ensure a full bloom. Mums will produce new growth on the stems and will even produce buds of flowers if exposed to too little light, but the flowers will not open. In general, the mums can grow with as few as three hours of full sunlight each day, but in these conditions the flowers may not bloom. If they do bloom, the growth will be small and stunted and the colours will not be as bright as they should be. They will also bloom later in the season, meaning that the blooms will not be on the plant for long before dying off for the winter.
Caring for Mum in Full Sun
Take care to ensure that the sun's heat does not dry out the plant. Mums are very similar to the grass in your lawn or landscape: they will thrive on 1 inch of water per week in the spring and early summer leading up to bloom time. As the blooms begin to take shape on the plant, the mum will need more water, so watering up to three times per week may be necessary. Water anytime the top 1 to 1 ½ inch of water feels dry to the touch, or anytime you notice slight wilting in the leaves or stems; this is a sign that the plant needs water. It is OK to let the mum dry out a little before watering; that's less risky than over-watering.
After Bloom Lighting
Once the blooms open and the mum plant shows its stunning true colours, the lighting no longer really matters. The plant should still receive at least three hours of sunlight daily, but if you want to move your mum houseplant to the front room where it can show its bloom to guests, it will not destroy the plant. The flowers may begin to fade slightly in colour, but it will not die off any faster for lack of sun, as long as you maintain proper watering.
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