It’s difficult to think of the fall season without having beautiful mums come to mind. Mums are a versatile addition to any fall garden and, along with fall pansies, they’ll take you through the season in a blaze of color. Their warm yellow, red, and purple tones are well suited as an addition to any fall garden and there are a few things you can do to prolong their beauty to take you through the season.
Once you bring your mums home, choose a spot to plant them that will give them adequate room to grow. Mums can get quite large and will be happiest if not crowded. Their roots tend to run shallow, so you’ll only need to dig your hole about a foot deep, but leave about 18 inches between plants.
If you are planning to use your mums in a pot on the porch or other container, be sure to choose one large enough to provide the room they’ll need. Whether you choose to plant yours in the ground or in a pot, giving it adequate room to spread will ensure that it has the room to access water and nutrients it will need in order to grow well.
Choose a spot that has enough sunlight to keep your mum happy. Generally this is a full sun location. Though they can survive in places that only receive part sun, they will eventually start to stretch toward that light, so you’ll want to be sure to turn them regularly if they are in a container, in order to keep them blooming evenly.
If you’ve chosen to plant your mum in a container, be sure to use a good potting soil that provides adequate drainage. Plants are like people – neither like wet feet! Fertilize once a week with a weak solution of water soluble fertilizer or, if you’re like me and tend to forget, you can use a product like Classicote that will provide continuous fertilization.
The most common cause of death to plants is overwatering, so be careful not to overwater your mums. Watch to see when they start to droop, then give them a good drink focusing on the base of the plant. You’ll want to be sure to keep that root ball moist in order to prevent them from drying out too much.
Remove dead heads or stems as soon as possible by pinching or using pruning shears. If you leave them on the plant, the plant will try to send the water and nutrients to that stem that could be better directed elsewhere. If you deadhead your mums on a regular basis, they will not only look better, but they’ll last longer and possibly rebloom depending on where they’re located.
Personally I love fall mums. Along with fall pansies, they’re one of the plants that take the chill and frost of fall and still look spectacular. If you’d like a pop of seasonal color that should last until Halloween, try a mum this year!
Gail Vanik can be reached at 970-565-8274 or by email at email@example.com.