Tips on Caring for Fall Mums
By Ted Rollins
, last updated January 30, 2012
If you frequent your local nursery or garden center, you'll notice that fall mums start to show their faces in the last few days of August. In colors mixed between red, yellow and white, fall mums can quickly and easily be planted in the fall, giving your garden a simple spark as the cooler months approach.
Be careful when picking out mums to fit your garden. Fall mums can be tender and picky when it comes to outdoor conditions, so verify that the mum you select match your USDA Hardiness Zone. Either choose a range of colors for your garden or buy a few of the same color to create a hedge or row. Select a garden location that gets about six or more hours of head-on sunlight.
Prepare a bed for all your mums, adding in compost and making sure the area will drain well; fall mums require much richer soil than other varieties. Take the mums out of their pots and get rid of any old or dying roots with a trimmer. Unpack the root ball and place it at the same depth it was in your planter. Put it in the ground and tightly pack the soil to eliminate all air pockets.
Fall mums don't need any fertilizer, but they do need to stay moist throughout the season. You should mulch over with a few inches of straw or hay prior to the season's first frost. Take off any old blooms but leave the stalk intact. Once spring arrives, take out any mulch and remove old stems after your new growth stretches to two inches. Pinch and prune frequently, which helps keep the plant compact and growing strongly.