Why Are My Mums Turning Brown: What Should Be Done?


Chrysanthemum (nicknamed mums) has never failed to enhance the beauty of our summer or fall garden. Not only does it add a splash of color to our garden, but also enhances our living space. 

However, if your mums start browning, you need to get into immediate action. Before you do that, you have to identify the reasons.

Now the obvious question is “why are my mums turning brown?”-

The main reason for chrysanthemum leaves turning brown is the incorrect environmental condition. The leaves and roots get affected due to extremely dry or wet surroundings. Other than that, fungal infections and pest infestation are responsible for the leaves and roots turning brown.

These are the reasons for your mums turning brown in a nutshell. If you want to know about the reasons for mums turning brown in detail, spare a minute and read along.

Let’s get to work-

Photo of mums in fall
Photo by Susan Sheldon

Reasons Why My Mums Are Turning Brown

Unlike other plants, chrysanthemums won’t make you break a sweat. They remain healthy under the sun even if you neglect them for days. That’s why these plants are the best and easiest kind of flowers to grow.

But here’s the twist-

Due to certain environmental conditions or disease, chrysanthemum leaves and flowers turn brown. This signals your immediate attention. Or else your mums might die.

In most cases, mums start turning brown from the roots. Which slowly extends to the leaves and then to the center of the flowers. 

There might not be much time to save your mums if the flowers start browning. But you can stop it while the browning is still up to the roots or leaves.

After you’ve identified the browning of your plant, it’s time to put the gardener gloves on. Because you’re about to find out the reasons and treat them accordingly-

Environmental Condition

Keeping the ideal environmental condition is important for chrysanthemums. The condition for chrysanthemums has to be perfect- not too dry, not too wet. This is important for all plants because the surroundings of the plant are mostly responsible for the yellowing or browning of the leaves. 

If you overwater the mums, their nutrition intake from the soil decreases. Causing the browning. Another reason is the improper drainage system in a flower pot. It can increase the chance of root rot fungal and bacterial infections.

 However, if the soil is too dry, the growth of the mums will be hampered.

Keeping the ideal temperature for the mums is also important. They need to be kept in a temperature range of 60-75 degrees F. In winter, you can control the temperature using an HVAC control system.


In this case, you can save your chrysanthemums. You need to strictly follow the watering guide for your mums. They need 1 inch of water per week. But before you water them, it would be best to check the soil. Add water only if the soil is dry. 

However, it’s also suggested to plant the mums in a pot with a good water drainage system.

Fungal Infection and Diseases

Fungal infections are common in chrysanthemums. The infection occurs when the plant is in an environment that is too wet. This allows fungal infections to grow in leaves and roots. These infections, later on, develop brown spots.

Septoria species and Puccinia spp. are two fungal infections responsible for turning your mums brown. The first one turns the leaves and roots brown. The second one creates brown spotting under the leaves.

Other diseases that affect chrysanthemum are Wilt diseases (Verticillium and Fusarium). They remain in the soil and attacks the roots causing the mums to die.


Of course, there’s a solution for fungal diseases. But unfortunately, If your plant is infected by the wilt disease, it can’t be avoided.

The first thing you can do is chop off the affected stems and roots. This will save the plant from further contamination of the infection.

You can also use some fungal sprays on the mums to kill the fungus. There are a lot of fungal sprays for plant infections. We have curated a list for you-

Bonide – Fungal Disease Control
Garden Safe Brand Fungicide3
Grower’s Ally Fungicide

Although there are solutions for fungal infections, unfortunately, you can’t cure the wilt disease. The best you can do is change the soil for planting a new chrysanthemum.

Pest Infestation

Any plant can be the victim of pest infestation. These pests are responsible for the yellowing and browning of plant leaves. But fear not! These are completely treatable.

There are three pests that can infect your chrysanthemum and turn the leaves brown-

  • Mealybugs
  • Aphids
  • Chrysanthemum thrips

Mealybugs and aphids live off by draining all the saps or juices from the leaves. Causing the leaves to turn brown and wither. On the other hand, chrysanthemum thrips attack the new blooms and buds.


Now, there are many ways to get rid of infestations. One of them is to rinse the pests off using a strong stream of water. 

You can also use plant insecticides to save your mums from pests and mites. Before you apply the insecticide, it will really help to read the instructions thoroughly. Stay off from the plants for a few minutes after application to let the magic work. 

Among all the available insecticides, we recommend using the best ones from the market-

Natria 706230A Insecticidal Soap Organic Miticide 
BioAdvanced Dual Action Rose and Flower Insect Killer 
Garden Safe Brand Multi-Purpose Garden Insect Killer 

Once you apply insecticides, you’ll see that there are no more pests on your plant.


Question: Do mums like sun or shade?

Answer: Chrysanthemums love sunlight. They grow best in adequate sunlight. Although six hours of direct sunlight per day is ideal for mums. Sunlight allows a smooth blooming process for chrysanthemums.

Question: How often do you need to water potted mums?

Answer: Not too often. But the ideal timeline is three times a week. The matured chrysanthemum requires about 1 inch of water every week. This might change according to the preference of the plant. Make sure you water the roots keeping the leaves dry.

Question: How long do potted mums last?

Answer: This mainly depends on the kind of surrounding and blooming process the chrysanthemum has to go through. However, it’s estimated that potted mum flowers last for about three weeks.

Closing Thoughts

By now, we hope we could help you identify the problems with your chrysanthemum. 

You can try to follow the steps to avoid browning leaves in the future. All you have to do is keep an eye on these beautiful blooming flowers.

Let us know if we have answered your question- ‘why are my mums turning brown’ – in the comments section below.

Till then keep blooming!

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Celina Nance

It’s been a life-long wish of Celina Nance to have a lawn full of colorful flower beds. But living in Arizona city, that seems kind of impossible. But Celina Nance didn’t stop and created a full-form balcony garden instead. And she often shares stuff that she does/solves/innovates throughout the journey.

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