One of my favorite fall flowers is the chrysanthemum. They
are inexpensive, handsome, and relatively long lasting. And they smell like
autumn. Here are five things you need to
know about them.
1. Most mums are for this season only. Even if the tag says it will overwinter, you will not get something next year that looks like what you bought this year. Professionals cut back the stems 2 or 3 times during the growing season to make them branch – and to produce so many blossoms. And somebody gave it lots of fertilizer to force all those flowers.
Mums need lots of care to end up looking like this.
2. Mums are quite brittle. Handle with care. It’s so easy to break off branches, leaving gaps in the display. This is particularly a problem if you are planting them in the ground.
3. Water daily in warm weather. All those blossoms – I once counted 300 on a single plant – lose water. Don’t stress out your plant by letting it dry out completely. If you buy one that is dry it will feel lightweight. Put it in a recycling bin with a couple of inches of water and let it suck up water from below.
Mums come in several nice colors.
4. You don’t have to plant your mum in a container or the ground. Consider keeping it in the pot it came in, and putting that in a cachepot. By this I mean I bigger pot that it just sits in. I just put mulch or soil in the bottom so that the mum in the plastic pot it arrived in will be at the proper level.
This pot will hold my mum nicely and keep it from tipping over.
5. Mums are quite frost tolerant, but when temperatures drop into the mid-twenties at night, I cover them.
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