Few autumn flowers are more iconic than chrysanthemums, or mums for short. The most well-known type of mum are Autumn Hardy Mums, also known as Garden Mums. These bright, cheerful flowers are perfect in the chilly climate of your fall garden, and with the right care, can even come back in the spring and last through many growing seasons. These plants are considered perennials, but gardeners often wonder why they are unable to keep them alive throughout the winter. In this article, we will explore how to plant and care for mums for longevity, and take a closer look at why these truly one-of-a-kind flowers are so special.
A main difference between hardy mums and florist mums is root growth. Florist mums are typically used in bouquets and arrangements, and will not survive the winter if they are planted because they do not possess the necessary root growth. Hardy mums, on the other hand, will produce lasting roots that help the plant survive the winter. Many people re-plant their mums annually, as they are not overly expensive to re-buy year after year. However, if you want your mums to last, you should consider planting them in the spring. Although you are less likely to find a wide assortment of colors, getting your mums planted in the spring is important in promoting root growth, as they will have the entire growing season to get their roots situated to survive the frosts.
Most perennial cultivars of this plant will survive the winter in Zones 5 to 9. Any colder climate will make it very difficult for the plant to live through harsh, northern winters. The earlier in the season you can get your mums planted, the better. Many people will wait until fall to buy mums because they desire a wider range of colors than what’s available in the spring, but we recommend that once you see mums available, that you purchase and plant as fast as possible. This is the best way to ensure that they will have time to establish roots and prosper.
When planting mums, be sure to put them in a location where they can get at least six hours of sunlight per day. If your mums don’t get enough sunlight, they will become tall, leggy, and produce fewer blooms. Mums have shallow roots that do not like competition, meaning that they need to be watered frequently, and prefer well-drained soil. As stated before, plants should be watered frequently (about an inch of water per week once the plant is established), but you should not soak the foliage, as this will encourage disease. Mums planted in the spring should be fertilized but mums planted in the fall do not require fertilizing.
Mums come in many different shapes and sizes, but are great overall for mass garden coverage. Many mums are very full of blooms, and can be put side by side to densely fill up a flowerbed space. Their wide range of colors also help to really make your autumn garden as customizable as possible. Easy to take care of as annuals, rewarding to preserve as perennials, and a truly iconic autumn flower, Autumn Hardy Mums are sure to delight anyone who chooses to plant them.
Have any question regarding the planting/care of these beautiful flowers? Feel free to contact us with any concerns you may have, or to order some of these flowers yourself!