Good morning everyone! Yesterday I shared with you some of the beautiful autumn mums we’ve received this week at the Garden Center. Mums are, without a doubt, one of our most popular fall bloomers. They look equally great in containers on your front porch as in borders in your mixed beds, and come in a rainbow of autumn colors. The garden mum just cannot be beaten for beautiful fall color. And now that you’ve picked up a few mums for your yard, I have a few tips and tricks for keeping your new plants looking in tip-top shape.
Fall planted mums need a little attention to help them make it in the landscape through the winter. Get these fall-blooming perennials in the ground as soon as possible. If using mums as container plants, it’s unlikely they will make it through winter, so enjoy their seasonal color as you would annuals.
Plant mums in full sun, in well-drained soil that is moderately moist. If the soil is too wet or too dry, the mums will suffer. Keeping the soil moist will ensure good root development on the plants as they go into winter, even after the tops have gone dormant. They tolerate part shade, but if it is too shady, the mums will get leggy and have smaller flowers. If your area receives at least half a day of sun, your plants should do fine.
Plant the mums in your flower bed at the same depth that they were growing in their pots and mulch them to help stabilize soil moisture and temperature. Be sure to cut and loosen the outer root system of the plant to maximize root growth before planting. Do not plant chrysanthemum flowers near street lights or night lights: the artificial lighting may wreak havoc with the mums’ cycle.
Do not fertilize your plants until you see new growth next spring. Use a general purpose fertilizer such as 5-10-5 at the rate of 1 lb. per 100 square feet. Fertilize once per month through July.
Removing the spent flowers, called deadheading, will keep your plant looking neat and tidy and will help promote more blooms. Once your plant has gone dormant, do not cut back the dead growth. The dried flowers and stems serve as insulation to protect the plant during winter. When you see new growth in spring, cut the dead stems as close to the ground as possible.
Be sure to give your mums plenty of space in the garden. They can grow and multiply rather quickly. An added benefit, in my opinion. By every third spring, divide your mums to rejuvenate them.
With these care tips, you’ll be enjoying glorious fall color from your garden mums for years to come. Enjoy!