Glorious Garden Mums
Autumn is synonymous with garden mums for many of us because that it the time of this glorious and versatile plant. Chrysanthemum comes in a variety of shape and colors and offers variety, longevity, and hardiness in a very attractive package.
Garden mums have a density in foliage and blooms that makes them a power-packed addition to any landscape. The fact that you can choose colors varying from yellow and orange to pink and lavender means that there is not a garden that will not find a complimenting color of mum. Whether you want to highlight the evergreens with vibrant reds and whites or play up the season with stunning bronzes and oranges, mums will help you paint a pretty picture.
The way the plant is structured also makes it a great addition to a landscape and because each plant produces plenty of flowers you can get a lot of impact by such adding a couple of plants of any given color. The versatility of garden mums is apparent in the fact that this great landscape plant is also a perfect container plant. You can leave them by themselves in a container such as a clay pot or a window box or pair them with interesting plants for added drama. They go well as backdrops for trailing plants and stand out interestingly against small berry shrubs and conifers. Ornamental grasses mixed in with garden mums are also an elegant combination.
These plants are technically not perennials but by planting garden mums in spring and providing some supportive care every winter can have a recurring mum in your landscape every fall. If you want to leave the chrysanthemum in your yard over the winter, plant it in spring to give it enough time to establish its roots in the garden. Then thoroughly deadhead the flowers over winter allowing it to overwinter. In spring, you can fertilize and mulch the base of the plant and by pinching prudently you can encourage fresh growth and hope for re-blooming in the fall.
There are cases where some mums even end up flowering minimally in spring. If you do end up picking up a mum in fall treat it as a container plant in the fall and keep in indoors in the winter months to avoid the outside cold temperatures. You can help the plant re-establish itself in spring by again tilling the soil and adding enhancements to it. If it seems healthy, you can plant it in the group in the spring. There is a distinction made between florist mums and hardy or garden mums and while the latter can survive the colder conditions of winter the former most definitely cannot. So pick the right kind of mum depending on how you want to use it. Garden mums produce something called underground stolons which helps them survive the cold and they are classified as perennials in Zones 5 to 9 for this reason.
There are many cultivars of garden mums and by choosing the right one for your region you can get the most out of your plant. Each cultivar has a different bloom time and finding one that matches the fall period of your area will be a good way of making sure that you get plenty of bloom time before the first signs of frost. The different cultivars of garden mums have different levels of sensitivity to early spring frost and this should also be factored in while picking a plant for your garden.
Garden mums make for great borders and clusters and they are fairly low maintenance. There are some deer resistant cultivars and by adding these to your garden you can enjoy a long blooming season well past the warm summer days.