Chrysanthemums, commonly called mums are certainly the star of the fall garden, however understanding how to grow mums is crucial to long term gardening success.
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So Many Colors And Blossom Styles!
Mums are one of the most reliable fall blooming flowers. They come in a wide array of colors and blossom styles – so you can choose ones that are extravagant or dainty depending on your personal preference.
While it is true, not all mums are perennials – which are plants that come back year after year from their own roots – many are.
This means you can plant them in the garden immediately upon bringing them home or keep them in pots until the blooms begin to fade, then plant them in your garden.
Mums Are Easy To Care For
Mums are pretty care-free in comparison to other plants.
They are generally pest-free and disease-resistant.
Cold weather does not bother them, in fact it intensifies the color.
A hard, killing frost however sends them into dormancy.
Choose early, mid-season and late blooming varieties so you get a full seven weeks of bloom!
Choose an area in full sun.
Mums that receive less than six hours of full sun will bloom, but not as robustly as those in full sun.
Plant mums in well-drained soil to keep the roots from rotting.
Enrich the soil with compost for best results.
While it is true that mums can thrive in just about any type of soil, following these tips ensures success – and helps your mums survive from year to year.
Water mums on a regular basis so the root system does not dry out.
This is especially important during dry spells and in the fall when the plants are storing up energy for winter survival.
Using a bit of mulch – even on the top of potted mums – helps keep the roots cool and the soil moist longer.
Once your mums begin to emerge in spring you need to start pinching them back to encourage them to branch.
This is why the ones you buy at the store look so full.
As soon as my mums get three sets of leaves on each stem, I pinch the top set off.
I continue doing this every two weeks until mid-July and then I let them finish growing on their own so they bloom on time.
There is no need to do this to mums you purchase in the fall – however pinching off the faded flowers can encourage some varieties to re-bloom.
Mums have a shallow root system – and thus often heave when the ground freezes, then thaws.
This is the reason many mums do not survive winter.
Mulch them well, check on them throughout the winter months to make sure they have not started to come out of the ground – and for those in cold climates, use evergreen boughs or similar plant material to help your mums make it through the winter.
For those who don’t want to go to the extra work of heavily mulching your mums, choose early blooming varieties which are slightly hardier.
It is best to divide mums in the spring when they begin to emerge.
Dig the plant up, divide the rootball into two to three sections making sure to remove any dead plant material in the center of the root ball and re-plant each section.
Be sure to water them well so the roots begin to grow into the surrounding soil.
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