It’s officially September and the weather is getting cooler. The time for bonfires and fall decor is here. Mums a fall flower favorite are beginning to pop up in stores, as a reminder.
Chrysanthemum is a hardy perennial that grows in zones 5-9. They come in a variety of shapes and just about any color you could want from white to dark red.
They are a native plant to Asia and northeastern Europe, although most species originated from east Asia. In 1796 General John Stevens imported the first cultivated species called ‘Dark Purple’ from England to America.
- Mums need a minimum of 6 hours of light per day
- Well-drained soil
- 1” of water per week after they have been established
- Water anytime they begin to wilt or bottom leaves shrivel and brown
- Do NOT soak the foliage as it may cause disease
- Pinch off dead flower heads to encourage new growth
Tricks for Winter Survival
- Plant your Mums earlier in the year, this will allow their delicate thin roots time to grow and establish.
- Amend the soil first
- Plant 1” deeper than the nursery pot that they came in.
- After the first hard frost mulch, your Mums thoroughly being sure to get between all of the branches.
- It may not hurt to cut the plant back to almost ground level after a frost if you want before mulching although leaving old-growth till spring can better survival rate.
Keeping Mums Indoors
- Keep them near a window that receives bright but indirect light all day.
- The temperature should be kept between 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Water when the top 1” of soil becomes dry, a moisture gauge may come in handy.
- When Spring comes your indoor Mums should begin to produce new flowers, this is the time to re-pot with new soil and fertilizer to keep the plant happy and producing gorgeous blooms.
What We are Going to Try this Year
I can’t wait to try my luck with Mum again this year. I think we may try to plant some in the next week. If it doesn’t work this year we will try again in Spring. But I think I will try cutting the end off of an old bottle to fill with water so that our new plants receive more of it while they are establishing roots.
Remember to keep pinching the dead flower heads off so that new ones will grow and the plant looks better, along with not being weighed down by the bad heads.
Mulching is something I will not forget to do this year and I will probably cut my plants down to within an inch of the ground before I mulch them.
We wish you great luck with your Mums if you decide to purchase some this year. It seems such a shame to keep buying perineal every year when they should come back on their own. Here are some options for native plants that have a better chance in Northwest Arkansas.