Chrysanthemum – the outdoor garden mum – the plant that extends our growing season here in Central New York.
By now the summer annual and perennial flowers are winding down and fading away, but with fall mums just starting show their color, our gardens can be revitalized with brilliant arrays of orange, yellow, red, purple, bronze, pink and white. Each year new colors are added to the available varieties which makes decorating with fall mums even more exciting.
Mums are great for fall décor because of their versatility. They can be planted in your perennial garden, dropped into a clay pot or added to a mixed planter with fall grasses and trailing plants. They can also be planted in hanging baskets. Mums are compact but loaded with hundreds of blooms so they can provide a huge impact of color in a small area.
Plant the mum in a sunny location with well drained, fertile soil. Water it in well and water when necessary to keep it from wilting. No need to fertilize. A mum planted in the fall may or may not survive the winter, since most of the growing energy goes into producing the flowers instead of the roots. If the mum was planted in the spring, the roots would have been established to sustain it through our harsh winters. Planting early in the season, dead heading the old blooms, and mulching around the plant after the ground freezes will increase the chance of survival. Although it is not guaranteed, many fall planted mums will come back in the spring.
Purchase a mum with tight buds and it will last for weeks to finish out your gardening season. Mums will survive light frosts. The cooler the weather, the longer the mum flowers will stay fresh.
Mums are available from late August and into October. Enjoy!