The Ultimate Guide to Growing Fall Mums
The official beginning of fall is just weeks away, and here at Bath Garden Center & Nursery, we are ready! Chrysanthemums are a staple of fall for many, adding beautiful, long-lasting color to any area. Our mums have been growing in our greenhouses all summer long and are now available for you to bring home to decorate your patios for the season! Whether you are using them for an annual display or perennial planting, your choice of plant and the way you care for them will make a difference in the quality and number of blooms you will get. To help make sure you get the most out of your mums this season, we've compiled some tips to help you know when to buy, where to plant, and how to care for mums! And if you are interested in watching a video with everything you need to know about mums, scroll to the bottom of the page!
When Should You Buy Chrysanthemums?
Buy Mums Before They Are in Bloom
Our opinion is that the best time to buy fall mums is at the end of August/beginning of September before they are in full bloom. Buying mums before they have begun to bloom ensures that you will be able to enjoy their blooms for a longer period of time. If you decide to purchase your chrysanthemums before they are in bloom, look for a basket that is loaded with flower buds. As you can imagine, more flower buds equal more blooms, and the more blooms there are, the bigger, fuller, and more colorful your mums will be!
Purchase Mums After They Have Started Blooming
If you want immediate blooms or want to be able to see the exact color of the blooms before purchasing, go ahead and wait an extra week or two until the mum selections at your local Garden Center & Nursery are in full bloom. While buying a plant that is in full bloom means you miss out on some of its bloom time, it also means you get to take home a basket that is bursting with color and you don't have to worry about the color being slightly different than what you were expecting.
Consider the Weather Before Purchasing Mums
Another factor to consider when purchasing your mums is the temperature outside. Mums are cool weather flowers and they for longer if temperatures are ideal. If the weather is still very hot out, your mums may only bloom for a few days before the heat becomes too much for them to handle and they start to focus on conserving energy instead of producing flowers. So, keep this in mind as you start to think about purchasing mums. If you time your purchase right you can get the maximum amount of blooms for the longest amount of time!
Where to Plant Your Mums
There are several options when it comes to planting your mums. Most chrysanthemums come in cute baskets that are ready to put on display as soon as you get them home from the Garden Center! They require no additional planting and can be left as they are. This is potentially the most common thing to do with mums! They are left planted in containers and used as annual flowers to add some color to fall decorations. This way, you can move them around or place them wherever you want and don't have to be limited to picking one location for planting. However, this isn't the only option!
Plant Your Mums in the Ground
Did you know that there are two different kinds of mums? There are floral mums (annual variety) and garden mums (perennial variety)! At Bath Garden Center and Nursery, we sell perennial mums, meaning that if you plant them in the ground, they will come back year after year! Garden mums, even though they are perennials, will not come back to life in subsequent seasons if they are left to grow in a pot or container as their roots will get too cold throughout the winter and they will die. But, if you plant them in the ground, you can get years of enjoyment! If you plan to add your mums to your flower beds, it is important to get them in the ground early enough so that they have somewhat of a chance to establish their roots before the first frost. This will give the plant a better chance of lasting throughout the cold winter! Here in Fort Collins, the average first frost occurs around the beginning of October. Plant your mums in a sunny place and in soil that retains some moisture for best results!
How To Care for Chrysanthemums
Caring for Potted Mums
Like we said above, mums are cool-weather flowers and therefore will grow best in consistently cool conditions. And while they don't love the heat, mums do best outside in an area where they will receive full sun exposure. This combination of cool temperatures and full sun is what they love! Mums also like their roots to stay slightly moist. You will want to check the soil in your potted mums daily, and if the top inch of the soil is dry, water your mums until water drains out the bottom of the pot. If you have a saucer that catches the drained water, make sure to dump the excess water out. As the flowers begin to fade, it is important to prune off the spent blooms to encourage even more blooms through the end of the season. If nighttime temperatures are predicted to drop below freezing, you may want to bring your potted mums in for the night! While they do like cooler temperatures, they are not impervious and will succumb to frost. Bringing them indoors when temperatures are predicted to drop below freezing will keep them looking beautiful and can help extend their life for as long as the weather permits!
Caring For Planted Mums
As we said above, mums like full sun exposure, so if you are planning to plant your mums in the ground, plant them in a location that receives direct sunlight. Your chrysanthemums will do best if planted in soil that drains well while also holding onto some moisture. Check the ground every couple of days and if the top inch of soil is dry, it's time to water! Remember that watering slowly for a long period of time will encourage strong, deep roots, whereas gushing water at the base of your plant for a short amount of time will just cause the water to spread out, which encourages shallow and weak root growth.
The secret to having a thick layer of flowers in time for the fall season is well-timed pinching. Throughout the summer months, you may see blooms start to pop up through the foliage of your plant. As much as you may want to see the flowers bloom, pinch them off or use a sharp pair of scissors to snip the bloom off at the base. This will encourage more branching which will lead to more flowers in the fall!
To keep the blooms coming year after year, another best practice with growing and caring for mums is to leave the foliage to wither in place over the winter season as opposed to pruning it back in the fall. Leave the pruning for the spring season! Plants allowed to wither in place have stronger roots and come back more vibrantly in the spring.
How To Grow and Care for Mums
If you have any questions about chrysanthemums, how to grow mums, how to care for your mums, or any other plant-related questions, please let us know! We are always happy to help in any way we can and have plenty of little tips and tricks that will help you grow the most beautiful mums you've ever seen. You can also check out another blog we have on How to Grow and Care for Chrysanthemums if you would like even more information on the subject. If you feel confident in your mum-growing abilities and are ready to commit, stop by Bath Garden Center & Nursery today to shop our 50+ colors and varieties of mums! You can also check out our blog on Fall Decorating Ideas to get some inspiration on how to decorate with your mums this fall. Happy planting, everyone!