Potted mums sitting on door steps and lining front porches are the tell-tale sign that the season of fall is here. Most people think of the chrysanthemum as the go-to plant for this time of year. It’s hardy enough to handle the cooler autumn days, relatively low-maintenance and comes in a range of striking colors – all making it the easy pick for adding a burst of color to your fall landscape. You can find them anywhere right now – at your food store, the local hardware guy, the big home improvement chains and the roadside garden stands – they’re all selling them. So why not make an outing of it? Let you kids decide which color plants you bring home and of course have them help out with the planting – they’ll love getting their hands dirty in the soil this one last time before the long stretch of winter. To keep your mums looking bright and fresh, even through Thanksgiving, here are some tips.
- The fewer the flowers the better. When shopping for your mums, choose plants with mostly unopened buds – the flowering season is short for this plant so you want to make sure you enjoy the blooms from the very start.
- Sun sweet sun. When finding a home for your mums, choose a sunny spot that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight.
- Don’t put off watering. Be sure to water thoroughly after first planting your mums. Then, moving forward, keep the soil moist without over-watering. Mums will begin to wilt if you let it go too long so keep an eye on them.
- Make room for new growth. By pinching off the old flowers at the base of the plant, you allow the mum to focus its energy on beautiful, new blooms.
- Reuse your mums. Keep in mind that chrysanthemums can be planted right in your garden bed and will come back next year bringing another season of color to your yard. If you have potted mums, you can transfer them into the ground before the hard frosts begin. The plants should be cut back to soil level – either in the mid-winter or in the spring at the start of the next growing season.
For more information and kids activities, including mum-themed coloring sheets and word searches, visit The National Chrysanthemum Society.