Chrysanthemums Add Fall Style
Instant impact! That’s what you get when you add a generous helping of blooming chrysanthemums to your fall garden. These hardy colorful perennials are available now at garden centers everywhere. Shop for your favorite colors and drop these blooming beauties into your garden beds, containers, or window boxes.
Chrysanthemums come in two basic types: florist and garden. Florist mums are in gift shops and grocery stores. They make excellent gifts, but are basically indoor plants and won’t overwinter in your garden. Garden mums, on the other hand, are perennials that have been developed to come back year after year in your garden, even in cold climates. The plant tag should tell you if you have a garden mum, but as a general rule, garden mums are sold on racks outside the garden center and florist mums are displayed with houseplants indoors.
When you shop for chrysanthemums, look for plants with fresh, firm green leaves and a crown of flower buds just about to open. Don’t buy wilted plants or those where most of the flowers are already open (they won’t last as long). To plant, simply slip them out of their pots and drop them into containers or beds -- wherever you need a quick dash of color.
Colors and Partners
Garden mums come in a variety of gorgeous colors including orange, red, purple, white, cream, yellow, and pink; choose a shade that complements your home or landscape. Mums go on sale in garden centers in autumn, the perfect time to color coordinate with holiday décor -- choose blooming mums in Halloween and Thanksgiving colors (think orange, rust, and yellow). Colorful gourds, pumpkins, and Indian corn are great accents for mums, too.
You also get a selection of flower forms: single, double, and exotic flowers with spoon-shaped-petals. No matter where you plant them, chrysanthemums look terrific by themselves or when paired with other fall bloomers such as pansies, asters, and ornamental grasses.
Caring for chrysanthemums is easy. They require a sunny location and slightly moist, well-drained soil. And, because they are relatively frost resistant, they keep blooming even after temperatures get chilly. Most mums will bloom for two to three weeks (keep them well watered). After the flowers fade, clip them off, but leave the foliage intact. If you are growing mums in containers, this is the time to transplant them into your garden if you want to save them for another year. In the North, mulching with a few inches of shredded leaves or straw improves their winter survival. In the spring you’ll see new growth sprouting at the base of the plant. At that time, you can remove the old foliage.
See more of my favorite fall flowers.