To my mind, fall just isn’t complete without chrysanthemums! This beauties come in all the colors of autumn leaves and then some: yellow, bronze, purple, pink, red, and white.
Chrysanthemums have been cultivated for more than 1,500 years. The plants can grow as compact 10-inch mounds to plants that are several feet tall with stems suitable for cutting and placing in a vase.
Chrysanthemum blooms can be as small as 1 centimeter or as large as 25 centimeters.
The rich colors of Chrysanthemums ignite the fall garden with a blaze of color (a last hurrah) just before winter sets in with the first killing frost.
Bare looking spots where weeds or dying flowers have been pulled burst into new life and color with the addition of pots of mums (left in the pots to be taken indoors later in the season) or garden mums transplanted directly into the ground.
Mums do not mind being transplanted so as autumn approaches go to your local garden center and indulge your senses. When you bring your prizes home dig a hole in full sun (mums like at least 6 hours of full sun) fill with rich compost, water well.
Of course you must make sure they have good drainage as they do not like soggy roots. All you need for a successful Chrysanthemum garden is a shovel or trowel, and your fingers for pinching older flowers and pinching back shoots to create a more bushy plant.
November claims the chrysanthemum as its own flower and Thanksgiving tables are graced by the gorgeous blooms. Why not jump on the fall hay wagon and grow chrysanthemums, the beauties of autumn?
While most perennials and annuals are nearing the end of the growing season, chrysanthemums are just taking off on their flight of fancy. It’s not too late to pick up a container or two to grace an entrance and announce to all that autumn robed in all its glorious colors comes hither with the beauty of the chrysanthemum center stage.
Mums are an extremely hardy plant, and are especially easy for beginning gardeners to grow. I have had Mums in every yard of the homes where I have lived. The plants will normally grow from 2 to 3 feet tall, and over the years will spread out.
After a couple of years, you can separate Mums to be transplanted into different parts of your garden. I have had my Mums bloom at least twice during the year. Normally you will see the best blooms in the fall as the summer days begin to shorten.
If you pinch off your plants during the spring when the plant reaches about 6 inches, this will encourage the plant to become bushy, and allow them to have more blooms.
You can pinch the plant back about every two weeks. You will not want to continue pinching off the plant during the summer, as this will allow the plant to go into full bloom for the fall season.
Mums will usually continue to bloom in the fall until the first frost of the season. When your Mums are blooming, and you get an early frost, you can cover your blooms to protect them to extend their blooming time.
Once the weather gives you a hard frost then it will be time to mulch your Mums well so that they will survive the winter. They will go into a dormant state. I pull up plenty of mulch around the plant from my flower bed to help protect them during the winter months.
I usually wait until spring before I cut off all the dead branches. I keep them mulched year round so that the mulch will help to keep the ground moist during the hot dry summer time.
Suitable mulching materials include clean straw, pine needles, and evergreen branches. Leaves are not a good mulch as they tend to mat down and don’t provide adequate protection. The mulch should remain in place until early to mid-April.
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Yours truly, Polly – Organic Gardener