Tips for Growing Beautiful Mums

October 18, 2011 | 12:10 pm

The chrysanthemums are in full bloom and irresistible to a two-year-old. On more than one occasion, I have caught my toddler pulling the mum flowers off one-by-one. I can understand her interest in the mums. Right now they are bright and bold; the splash of color my landscape needs this fall.

I have received a couple of questions about chrysanthemums that I thought would be fitting to address here in the blog.

1.   How did your chrysanthemums get so big? To get large mums be sure to purchase varieties that are from good stock and are hardy for your area. Mums should be planted in full sun and in soil that drains well. My mums have a good layer of mulch around the base. I water thoroughly, especially during the hot dry periods of summer. I also apply a water soluble fertilizer once a month during the summer months.

2.  Can I put a chrysanthemum in a pot and then plant it later? Yes, I have had success potting up a mum for decoration in the fall and then planting it in my landscape later.  The key is keeping the plant watered. The roots are shallow and will quickly dry out. If you don’t get it planted before the ground freezes, you can bring the potted mum inside and over winter it in the pot and plant in the spring. Success is not guaranteed, but it is worth a try. Just be sure you remember to water it.

3.   How do I prepare the chrysanthemums in my landscape for winter? Mums will have a better chance of surviving a long cold winter if you do not prune until spring. It’s also good to apply four to six inches of mulch around the base of the plant in November or December. This provides a blanket of protection. It keeps the ground evenly frozen and prevents the alternate freezing-thawing cycle that creates soil heaving. It is also essential to remember to water them during the cold dry winter months.

 Chrysanthemums are sure to brighten your landscape and may even draw a toddler to it.