Choosing, Growing & Caring for your Fall Mums
Mums can add colour to your porch or gardens come fall, until the cold weather comes. Chrysanthemums, also known as mums, are the star of fall gardens️They're usually the last plant to bloom before frost, ushering your garden into the big sleep of winter with a last bang of colour. There are many species of mums, hundreds of varieties and thousands of hybrids. Mums come in a rich range of colours including white, yellow, orange, lavender, purple, red and bicolor.
They're easy-to-grow and can be used in beds, borders and containers. They attract butterflies in the fall and make great cut flowers, lasting up to two weeks in a bouquet. Mums grow best in full sun. They're at their best when they get six to eight hours of direct light. Give them too little sunlight, and you'll get a weak plant that produces few flowers.
Mums will do best in rich, well-drained soil. Add compost or other organic material to your soil when you plant to give your mum the best shot at being a strong, healthy plant. Soil must be well-drained or your mums will rot. Water chrysanthemums frequently because they have a shallow root system that gets thirsty fast. If the weather's hot and dry, they will need daily watering Water gently so you don’t break or saturate the blooms because wet blooms fade faster. Try putting the hose or watering can under the blooms and watering the soil directly. You can also water from the bottom of the plant — self-watering pots are great for this. This gets the water where it needs to go, but it also keeps the blooms dry.
Do you know when it’s the best time to buy mums? Mums with big, showy flowers look beautiful now, but they won’t last as long. Look for plants packed with buds or with flowers just starting to open. When properly cared for, these plants will provide colour for at least a month.
Keep your mums cool for longer-lasting blooms. While mums need six hours of sunlight a day, too much heat and sun also shorten their blooming cycle. If your days are still warm (75 degrees are more), put your plants in a place they’ll receive partial shade. Protecting potted mums from heat stress will keep them blooming longer.
Mums are ideal for containers because of their shallow root systems. Use those pots of blooming mums sold in the fall as annuals to replace summer annuals that are past their prime. Tuck the mums in beds, borders or planters to keep the colour coming until frost.
FYI - Mums contain substances that can be toxic to cats and dogs so keep that in mind if you have curious pets.