Is it really fall without mums on your patio and in your garden? Mums, or Chrysanthemums, are perfect to set in a pot on the front porch next to a few pumpkins to welcome visitors. They're also perfect for tucking into empty places in your fall garden. Their soft jewel-tones provide a simple and affordable way to dress up your landscape. Did you know that there’s actually more than one kind of mum? Here’s everything you need to know about mums and how to choose which ones are right for your garden.
There are two types of mums: garden mums, which are treated as annuals and hardy perennial mums. Garden mums are the big, colorful annuals sold in pots each fall across the United States.
When selecting garden mums, look for full, healthy plants that still have some tightly closed buds. This ensures you’ll get blooms for a longer period. Additionally, mums do best and often look better when repotted out of their plastic nursery pot and into a larger container that can hold more water. You can also help your mums thrive by providing them with full sun, keeping them consistently moist, and deadheading them (removing spent flowers as they finish blooming). Use annual mums for temporary color in your garden or on your porch, and compost them when they’re finished blooming.
Perennial mums, on the other hand, should be planted directly into your garden bed in the spring. Though they sometimes have smaller flowers, they’ll provide autumn color to your garden year after year. However, they do require more maintenance throughout the summer. Water well throughout the growing season. Like annual mums, you’ll get the best blooms if they’re planted in full sun, but they will tolerate partial shade. This encourages them to grow fuller and bushier, and flower later into the season.
Like annual mums, perennial mums benefit from deadheading. Removing the old flowers will encourage them to keep blooming. After they’re done for the season, mulch to protect them during the winter. Mums may be trimmed back in the fall, but you should wait until the foliage has turned brown and still leave about six inches of plant standing.
When the leaves start to fall and the air gets crisp, Chrysanthemums are the highlight of the garden. Whether you opt for annuals, perennials, or a combination of the two, they’re a quintessential item for your fall yard and patio.