Tips & Tricks


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23 Jul 2021

By Steve Jacobson

Outdoor flowers bloom at different times during the growing season. It is just the nature of their growing and their flowering cycle. If you've ever wondered why you see potted mums everywhere during fall, the reason is simple.

Mums are photo-periodic flowers. That means that the mechanism that makes them produce buds and flower is shorter days and longer nights. They are also flowers that thrive in cooler weather, especially cooler nights, something that isn't typical among flowering plants.

If you want to add fall color to your landscape, the ideal plant to choose is a Chrysanthemum. Although mums come in every color you can imagine, some of the popular fall colors are those people traditionally associate with this time of the year. The colors are symbolic of harvest and the changing colors of tree leaves.

If you want to plant mums to add color to your fall landscape, make sure you are getting plants that are specifically labeled as garden mums. These are suitable for outdoor growth. You can keep them in containers, or you can put them in the ground, creating mass compact clusters of warm fall color.

The ideal time to buy garden mum is in spring, but if you decide to purchase them in fall, you can still plant them in the ground. You will have less time to enjoy their showy display of copper, bronze, gold, yellows, and other earthy colors. Make sure you plant your outdoor mums in a place where they get plenty of sunlight during the day, and total darkness during the night. Street lights or light from other sources will disrupt the plant's internal clock system.

Protect your mums from those intense, dry northerly and northwesterly winds. When planting your new starts or mature plants in fall, don't fertilize your plants at all. Keep them consistently moist, but not soggy. Make sure you amend your soil with organic matter to improve drainage before planting. Other than water, you can pretty much neglect these plants until spring'.Once a freeze kills off your plants, pile a two-inch layer of loose mulch around the base of our plants. That will protect important crown area where the roots meet the stems.

The following spring, once you're sure there is no longer a danger of frost, cut the dead woody stems back and wait for the new growth to emerge. Once the plants start to grow, fertilize them once a month until mid to late July. With proper care, and the right growing conditions, you will delight in watching your mums bursting with color for as long as the weather will permit.


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