Chrysanthemums, fondly known as mums, are well loved and easy to care for, producing pretty blooms in the fall when other flowers have abandoned you. Mums come in a selection of colors, including shades of purple, pink, red, yellow, and even bronze. They are recognized by their densely petaled blooms and small leaves. Mums do well in containers and gardens, and are hearty enough to weather a light frost. Just a little attention to detail will keep your mums healthy and blooming for many seasons to come.
Mums like full and partial sun, at least six hours a day. Rather than place mums in the shade, plant them in a container or window box for better exposure. Well-drained soil is ideal. Do not plant mums where the ground tends to be soggy. Plant your mums one inch deeper than they were in their original pots.
Mums have shallow roots, so they do best when the soil at the surface is watered regularly rather than from a long, deep dousing. Pinching back new growth is what keeps mums thick and healthy. Don’t be afraid - pinching back even three to five inches of growth throughout the spring and into early July will bring you fuller plants and prolific blooms in the fall.
Mums do well on their own, but a high-phosphorous fertilizer applied once or twice a month until cooler fall weather sets in will give your mums an extra boost.
One of the best things about mums is their resistance to disease and insect pests. While you may notice aphids and other tiny insects in the leaves, most will not cause your mums any harm.
Your mums will be back next year if you help them through the winter by applying about four inches of mulch and straw to trimmed plants.
Keeping mums in your garden or landscape will promise color and blooms long after your summer plants have had their time in the sun. Easy to care for, mums will make you look like an expert gardener just by following these few simple rules.