Mums the Word

September 20, 2010 | 10:09 am

The first day of autumn is around the corner. I can feel it in the air; not to mention all the Halloween decorations hanging in every store. I’ve already eaten two bags of candy corn, yikes!

Chrysanthemums and candy corn are my fall impulse buys! I tend to pick up a mum or two while out running errands. I justify by saying it’s a perennial that never disappoints me… well except when they die. If you do buy your mum in the fall, you don’t need to fertilize at planting time. Wait until early spring when they begin growing.

I planted two chrysanthemums last fall, one did not survive the winter and the other is large and full of blooms. I am eagerly waiting for it to bloom as I know it will be an eye catcher. I treated both plants exactly the same and have learned that sometimes you can do everything right and still lose a plant.

Mums accentuate any fall landscape and are a perennial with a plethora of colors to choose from. They are heavy feeders and require proper fertilization for the best show. Mums should be fertilized in the spring with a complete dry fertilizer such as 10-10-10 and watered in. If you prefer, you can use a water soluble fertilizer such as a 20-20-20. After buds have formed in late July or early August, you don’t have to add any additional fertilizer.

Join me this fall and give into the impulse. Buy the mum!