Are Mums Perennials in Cincy?

It’s Fall and time to answer one of our most frequent fall questions, “Are mums annuals or perennials in Cincinnati?”

While there are mums considered Zone 6 hardy, we sell them as cold-hardy annuals. What is the reason? There are several factors that limit their winter survival. Cincinnati gardeners typically plant in late summer or Fall, leaving little room for root development. The plant endures subzero temps with freezing and thawing soils, improper late-season care, and soil conditions. Also, most mums are planted in containers. Now, you can see why mums are considered a cold-hardy seasonal annual.

While we, unfortunately, cannot guarantee survival until spring, we can give you some ideas to possibly overwinter and regrow your plant for spring.


  • Earlier in-ground planting with proper planting procedures
  • Feed with plant food
  • Remove spent flowers
  • Leave green foliage to supply nutrients to the roots
  • Water as needed thru the fall season.
  • Leave the brown foliage thru winter
  • Mulch in late Fall

Another option for trying to save mums is to follow the above care, and instead of mulching for winter, dig, re-pot and move the plants to a cold, protected location for the winter. You want to place it in an unheated garage or shed. Do not forget to water once a month. Then, re-plant them in the garden in late March or April.

NOTE: Many selections naturally bloom in late spring /early summer. Pinch mums back 1/3 in late May and again in early July. You want to keep plants stocky, fuller, and developing late summer/fall flower buds.

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