You know fall has arrived when there’s a crisp edge to the air, the trees start turning, kids go back to school, and all you see are mums. These great flowers provide a variety of color and texture to this season that celebrates the harvest of everyone’s hard work all summer long.
Chrysanthemums come in two main varieties, garden and florist or hardy and indoor. Florist mums tend to have larger blooms that come in varieties such as pompon, daisy and spider. These mums are grown in greenhouses and do not produce underground stolens, which makes surviving the winter quite tough.
Garden or hardy mums are the perennial mums that will continue to grow in your garden as long as you have the right conditions. These, too, come in various bloom shapes and sizes like pompon and daisy, and can also be used in both sun and shade containers during the fall. The sunlight helps the plant set its buds, so once the buds are set to bloom, mums can be put in shadier spots. Generally, by the time you purchase your mums from us, the buds are set to go and you can place the plant wherever.
Both types of mums are available in many colors, including white, bronze, red, yellow, gold, orange and purple.
Another thing to note when shopping for mums, is the varieties. You will notice that hardy mums have women’s names as their variety name. Cheryl is one variety that has many different colors under its category such as Golden Cheryl, Jolly Cheryl and Regal Cheryl. All of these different varieties not only have different colors, but bloom size and type, as well as bloom time. Some varieties, like Jennifer, bloom earlier in the season, while others, like Raquel, bloom later.
If you are looking to plant your hardy mum in your yard, as stated earlier, you will need a sunny spot to grow. Mums will also need to be pinched back in order to thrive. When you plant them, you may notice them starting to bloom the following June. Generally we recommend pinching the mums back before this happens to get a big show in the fall. If you let them bloom, be sure to deadhead them to get a second show.
Another way to ensure a great show in the fall is to pinch the mums back when they reach between six and eight inches. Pinch the branches back about half their height (so from eight inches to four) to help them branch out. You will want to keep doing this through the fourth of July, and then let them grow from there.
When you plant your mums in the fall, they don’t have a lot of time to establish themselves for the winter, so the earlier you plant them, the more likely they will come back. At frost the mums die back, but it is best to leave the dead branches on the plant until the spring, because they add insulation to the roots and protect the plant throughout the winter. If you do not have a chance to plant the mums until late into the season, your best chance is to mulch the base of the plant when the first freeze happens.