Mums are as much a part of autumn as pumpkins, pumpkin spice lattes, football, and pretty leaves. Every fall, mums brighten up a home with their rich color and simplicity. They come in a wide array of colors. Some blooms are simple. Some are flashy like fireworks. Planting and caring for your mums is fairly easy if you follow these simple steps.
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How to Care for Your Mums
Chrysanthemums, or mums for short, are pretty low-maintenance. Mums prefer to be placed where they will receive a full day of sunlight. But they’ll grow fine in a shady area. It will just take a little longer for them to bloom if they’re placed in the shade.
The mums for sale at grocery and department stores are usually annual mums. Remove them from their pots and replant them within a few days of bringing them home. If you don’t have time to pot them the day you bring them home, be sure to water them every day. They’ll probably be rootbound in their plastic store pots and in need of a drink. Annual mums in a container need water every day. They dry out and wilt very quickly.
When I bring my annual mums home, as soon as possible I plant them in a large container with lots of room for their roots to grow. A basic potting soil will work fine. Then I give them a good drink and a feeding with Dr. Earth’s Flower Girl Bud & Bloom Booster.
Deadheading and Why It is Important
When the blooms on your mum dry and wither, remove them. This is called deadheading. Removing the dead blooms encourages plants to produce new blooms. This is because the dead blossom if left on the plant, will begin to create seed. Removing the blossom before it begins to make seed causes the plant to make more blossoms.
Hardy Chrysanthemums and How to Care for Them
Hardy mums, also called garden mums, are a variety of mum capable of surviving over the winter. Go to your local garden center to purchase hardy mums so you’ll know for sure you’re getting hardy rather than annual mums. They have a wider stalk and larger blooms than annual mums.
Plant hardy mums in a sunny area. Dig the hole twice the diameter of the root base. This will give the roots plenty of room to grow easily. When you take the mum out of the plastic pot, squish the root base with your hands a little to loosen it. This will help unbind the roots and make it easier for them to grow.
Next, place the chrysanthemum in the hole up to the very top of the root base. Then shovel the soil back into the hole around the plant. Next, place your favorite mulch about an inch deep around the newly planted mum. Water well and feed with Dr. Earth’s Flower Girl Bud & Bloom Booster. Your newly planted hardy mum will need to be watered every day for at least a week to help it get established in the soil.
Hardy Mums are Pretty Tough
Once established, hardy chrysanthemums don’t need to be watered every day like annual mums in containers. Just watch for signs of wilt, then water. Unless it’s dry, rain is sufficient water for hardy mums.
Remove the dead blooms as needed and fertilize them about once a week. Hardy mums are pretty tough. I have one that I thought was dead and pulled it up. I must’ve left some root behind in the ground. The little thing is making a comeback! It’s a little thin, but it’s alive. 🙂 That mum is this pretty red flower in the photo below:
Preparing Hardy Chrysanthemums for Winter
Chrysanthemums are done for the season when they’re brown or black, withered, and crunchy. If they’re in a protected area, you can leave them standing through the winter. Mine is next to a privacy fence so I leave it standing to provide some architecture to the yard in the winter. Then I cut it back to the ground in the spring.
If your hardy mums are in an open area, cut them back to the ground in the fall and cover them with leaves or straw. That will protect the roots through the winter. Then, when the new shoots poke through in the spring, remove the covering and begin to fertilize them about once a week. This will ensure a healthy plant and lots of lovely blooms again in the fall.
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What is your favorite color of mum? I love the deep, rich red. Let me know if you have any questions and enjoy your beautiful mums this fall!! 🙂