Mum’s the Word
We have had a plethora of questions and concerns about the care and keeping of Mums so here are some helpful hints on getting the most out of our favorite fall flower. The Mums we carry at Hook’s Greenhouse are called Hardy Fall Mums. Hardy Mums are among the more hardy varieties, but even hardy Mums do not always come back the next year. Even though it is uncertain your Mums will grow back, it is prudent to use tactics that will maximize your Mum’s chances of survival.
Mums tend to survive better if they are purchased in the cool weather of early September. If they are planted in hot weather they may burn up and dry out before the roots have a chance to become established. That being said, it is important to plant your Mums in well-drained, moist soil as soon as possible so that the roots have a longer time to become established for the winter months. It is also a good idea to purchase Mums that have not fully flowered yet so that when you plant them more energy is sent to the roots and not just to the blooms. Mums should be planted in zones five to nine and in a place where it will receive at least six hours of sunlight a day. You should remember to keep your Mums watered heavily when they are blooming and do not let them wilt because it will the effect the plants longevity. While Mums are blooming it is best to dead head, or cut off the dead buds, so that more flowers will grow in their place.
At the end of the fall season when the weather starts to get cold do not trim off the dead growth, save that trimming for the spring. Pile up high quality mulch in and around the Mums so that they are insulated for the cold months ahead. On warmer, sunnier winter days it will help the Mums if you soak the roots a few times so it does not dry out. In Early Spring pull the mulch away and cut back the old stems down to the new growth. If it survived the first Winter you should be able to enjoy them for years to come.
For some people they enjoy decorating their porch with Mums and pumpkins, so in the case of a late season planting it is acceptable to winter indoors. It is best to plant them but if you feel that the Mums will not have enough time to root in the ground before winter then please follow these steps. Pot up the Mum in a pot a few sizes larger and store in the basement or a dark closet of your home. Keep the roots damp and make sure the pot is large enough to facilitate healthy root growth. Check on your Mum every month to make sure it does not get too dry and then replant it in spring.
Mums are a relatively inexpensive plant that adds a great splash of fall color to your garden. Always plant your flowers with the hope of success and follow all the guidelines so that your beautiful garden has the greatest chance of survival through the harsh winter months.
Have Fun and Enjoy your Yard!