Potted Mums on woodPotted mums dying can be a major alarm sign for any concerned plant parent. Many people ask us for help on why this could be happening to their plants. So, we have compiled a list of the most common reasons why potted mums appear brown, wilted or dying.

We have also put together a brief list on how to revive a dying potted mum plant, so read on to find this out too!. 

Why Are Your Potted Mums Dying: Six Possible Reasons

There are several reasons why your treasured potted Chrysanthemums plants might be showing symptoms of dying. This can be a hard thing for any plant parent to witness, so you have to find out where this is coming from.

Learn the common causes given below so that you can fix this problem as soon as possible.

– Not Watering Them Enough 

Chrysanthemums are notorious for their water-loving behavior. In the growing season at least, these plants require about an inch of water each week. Thus, you will find that they need to be watered as much as three times a week during hot, summer months.

Moreover, underwatering will cause your mums to start exhibiting signs of dying. Their leaves will dry and wilt off. The biggest giveaway is the condition of the soil, though. If the soil is dry to touch, then it’s time to water your mum plants. Water plants copiously so that the soil remains moist but not soggy for the next several days.

– Pruning Them Too Much

Pruning is a very important aspect of growing the potted mums at home, but maybe you just might be going a bit overboard with your pruning.

When pruning these plants, make sure to only cut the dead or dying flowers and leaves. Also don’t cut off health stems more than two inches long.

– Overwatering or Poor Soil Drainage

If your potted mums are dying despite you giving them seemingly good care, then it’s time to reevaluate your care regime. Are you sure you are not watering them too much?

The signs of an ideal watering regime are that the soil of the potted mums should appear moist but not soggy. If you stick a pencil into the soil and it comes out muddy, then your plant is definitely being overwatered.

Furthermore, you should stick to a regular watering regime and only water once the soil starts getting dry, and never water when it is already wet. 

Another major cause of overwatering is poor drainage. So, either your soil is of poor quality and tends to clump together or the drainage hole at the bottom of your pot is not big enough.

Thus, you can improve the drainage of the soil by adding some sand or perlite to it. The larger perlite particles will help loosen the soil so that excess water can drain quickly.

– Low Temperatures 

Both extremes of weather can be the reason behind your potted mums turning brown and dying. However, this is more true for colder temperatures during the fall and winter months. Keep in mind that these plants need to grow under a temperature range of around 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

If there is a forecast of the temperature dipping below 28 degrees Fahrenheit for longer than four hours, or in a case of impending heavy rain or hail, move your potted mums indoors under warmer conditions. If you cannot move them indoors, then cover them with newspaper and plastic to save them from dying of cold.

– Diseases

If you see that your potted mums are dying, then your next step should always be to assess whether or not they are suffering from some sort of disease.

These household plants are prone to a number of infections by fungal and bacterial agents. If left untreated, these diseases can be totally fatal for them.

Read below to learn about some of the most common diseases affecting Chrysanthemums.

– Septoria Leaf Spot Disease

This is a fungal disease that attacks your plants when you pour water on the leaves and allow it to rest there. The fall and winter time makes your plant particularly vulnerable to the disease, as this water takes a lot of time to evaporate.

So, what happens is that yellow or brown stains will appear on the surface of the leaves, and they will also begin to wilt and die. You can treat this disease using any good antifungal agent. Also, direct the beam of water towards the soil and not the plant when watering.

– Verticillium

Verticillium is a serious disease that is caused by certain soil-dwelling fungi. Once it affects your plant, you will see changes appear and destroy your potted mums within days.

First of all, you will notice the leaves of the potted mums wilting. This will be followed by yellowing of the veins of the leaves. Then, the plant will start shedding its leaves and flowers and begin to die.

– How To Treat Verticillium

Unfortunately, this is not an infection that can be treated with fungicides. Once a plant is infected with verticillium, it becomes a basket case. Thus, you will need to take the affected mum plant out of its pot and burn it. Also, you should dispose of the soil to prevent the infection from spreading to other plants.

– Pythium

Pythium is a particularly nasty plant parasite that is naturally present in most soils. However, it will only attack your potted plants when they are undergoing some sort of stress. 

Often, your Chrysanthemums will succumb to this parasite when they are being overwatered. This happens most frequently during fall and winter when you don’t decrease the frequency of watering them. 

Moreover, these are the symptoms of a Pythium Infection:

  • In the beginning, your potted mums will exhibit stunted growth for a while.
  • This will be followed by discoloration and wilting of leaves.
  • Ultimately, the poor plant will suffer from severe root rot and start dying.
  • If you manage to catch this disease early on, then treating the dying mums with a potent antifungal will get rid of the parasite.

– It Might Be Undergoing a Winter Dormancy Period

It is completely normal for some types of mum plants to undergo a period of dormancy during winters. Their leaves will wilt and fall off, and that will give an overall appearance of a dying plant.

Nevertheless, their roots will continue to grow and save food. So, you only need to water them occasionally when the soil dries out and do nothing else; even fertilizing during the dormancy period can stress the plant. Come spring and you will see your beloved plant coming back to life.

Bring Potted Mums Back to Life

Even if your potted mums appear to be dying, don’t worry, for there is still hope. After you have gotten rid of whatever was causing them to die, the next step is to work towards reviving these plants. Given below is a brief overview of how to do this.


– Give Them Loads of Sun

Chrysanthemums love being under the sun. They need at least six hours of sunlight each day to thrive properly. Remember that you can place them under direct sunlight during the mornings and the evenings but should provide shade for them during the harsh afternoon time. 

Similarly, your indoor potted mums are best when placed in an eastern or a western-facing window. Avoid the southern side window as this one lets the afternoon sun in.

– Water Adequately

Chrysanthemums need plenty of water or they will start to die. Want to learn how to tell whether your potted mums are dehydrated or not? Read this list to find out:

  • The leaves will appear wilted and drooping.
  • The soil will be completely dry to the touch. If you insert a pencil into it, it will come out with dry, crumbly soil attached to it.
  • Lift the pot of mums up, it will appear lighter than it should.

– How To Water Potted Mums 

Direct the beam of water towards the base of the mum plant and pour water into the soil. Water slowly and abundantly, and make sure there is a proper drainage hole at the bottom to let all the extra water out.

Sometimes, water from the potted mum plants simply flows from the sides of the pot out the drainage hole without adequately watering the roots enough. Another method of watering these plants is to submerge the pot of Chrysanthemums in a bucket full of water for a few hours. Let the water soak into the soil completely. 

Don’t forget to take the pot out after a couple of hours, though. You don’t want your plant to develop a nasty root rot due to overwatering as well.

– Regular Pruning and Inspection 

Deadheading is very important for the overall well-being of the Chrysanthemums. However, there is a proper time for it. The first deadheading of the plant should take place when it gets about six inches tall. The second one should take place when it reaches a height of one foot. 

– Use a Fertilizer

You should also fertilize regularly to save dying potted mums along with fulfilling their water and light requirements. These plants need regular feeding for their growth and survival.


– When Should Mums Be Fertilized? 

Start fertilizing potted mums during spring from March to May. Feeding them before their flowers bloom ensures that the plant has enough nutrients to grow and produce a healthy bloom. Regularly keep fertilizing till fall after which you should stop fertilizing while these plants undergo dormancy.

– Which Fertilizer Is Best for Chrysanthemums? 

Any slow-release fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 6-2-4 is good for your potted mums. You can also use fertilizers with an NPK ratio of 4-2-3 if you are also using dead leaves as additional organic fertilizers.

We always use granular types of feed for our potted mums but you can also buy liquid ones. Just make sure to dilute them first.


Potted MumsSo far you have learned why your potted mums might be dying in detail. This is the summary of all the important details that came up in our article:

  • Underwatering might be the reason why your potted Chrysanthemums are dying. Water them at least three times a day
  • While regular pruning and deadheading of old flowers is important, your mums will begin to die if you go too heavy-handed on it
  • Overwatering the potted mums will cause them to suffer from root rot and they will begin to die. The same thing happens if your soil or pot has poor drainage
  • The ideal temperatures for your mums are 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  They will surely begin to die if the temperature starts to dip below 28 degrees Fahrenheit for a duration of more than four hours.
  • A lot of diseases might be responsible for your potted mums dying. These diseases include septoria leaf spot disease, verticillium and pythium
  • Some types of Chrysanthemums appear to be dying when they are, in fact, only undergoing a short period of winter dormancy
  • Give your plant plenty of sunshine and take care that its water needs are being met to revive it

We are sure that the next time you see a potted mum dying, you will know how to handle it like a total pro.

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