It’s the sad time of year when summer’s showy blooms fade away. But the late-season garden can offer all the brilliant color and spectacular shapes, all on one plant: chrysanthemums, more commonly called mums. Available in dozens of exciting varieties, mums bloom for weeks. The sheer number of brightly colored flowers per plant will leave no doubt as to why mums are such a favorite for filling porch pots and flower beds once other blooming plants start winding down. Here’s what you need to know to grow to keep your mums through the fall until winter comes.
First, determine what variety of mum you have. Mums generally come in two types. Florist mums (also known as cutting mums) are annuals, and hardy mums (also known as garden mums) are perennials. Both types come from the same original parent, a golden-yellow daisy-like mum from China. Today’s hybrids in both categories result from endless crosses between several species from China and Japan. These crossbreeds result in many different kinds of beautiful mums perfect in the interior and exterior of the home or office.
Florist mums have many bloom forms, including quilled, pompom, spider, and more.
They are propagated in greenhouses and are only for interior usage. These plants do poorly in cold settings. You can plant a potted florist mum you receive as a gift but don’t expect it to survive the winter outside.
On the other hand, garden mums can survive cold better. Most garden mums are perennials and much tougher than florist types. Some cultivars are less hardy than others and can be killed by an early frost, though. Check with your garden center to see what temperatures your variety will withstand.
Both florist and garden mums make excellent and fun container plants. Direct plant them in a decorative container with other fall plants like kale, and you will have an outstanding flowering piece of art.
Tips for Buying Mums
Buy the best—Always purchase from a reliable garden center, and use their expertise to pick the right plant. It may be tempting to choose the plant for the showiest blooms but try to look for a plant with more buds than flowers so it will last longer.
Repot—one of the best things you can do is repot your mums after getting them home. Most mums have very compacted root balls after sitting in nursery containers. Gently break up the root ball and give your mum a new home in some fresh organic potting soil. Next, soak the entire potted plant in a bucket of water. This will help preserve them.
Water well—Don’t forget the water. Chrysanthemums love full sun, and high temperatures mean lots of water. Try to avoid letting your plant wilt, but if it does, water immediately. Water every other day, and if they start to wilt, water immediately. Sit back and enjoy the gorgeous colorful flowers.
Need help choosing mums for your landscape or office? The designers at Plantscapers are happy to help! Let’s chat about your interscaping today!