Often mistaken as annuals, chrysanthemums, or mums, are perennial plants that can grace your garden year after year with their vibrant blooms. With proper care, mums can thrive and bring color to their outdoor space beyond the typical fall season. This article will explore the key steps to ensure your mums flourish as perennial delights.
Choosing The Right Variety
Selecting the appropriate mum variety is crucial for perennial success. Some cultivars are hardier than others, so choosing ones well-suited for your specific climate is important. For example, garden mums (Chrysanthemum morifolium) are popular and widely adaptable, making them an excellent choice for many regions.
Planting In The Right Location
Mums thrive in areas with well-drained soil and full sun. Plant them in a location that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight daily. Ensure the soil is rich in organic matter, which aids in proper drainage and provides essential nutrients for healthy growth.
Pruning And Deadheading
Regular pruning and deadheading are essential tasks for perennial mum care. Pinch back the stems by about one-third in late spring or early summer to encourage bushy growth. Deadhead spent flowers promptly to redirect the plant’s energy towards producing new blooms.
Mums prefer consistent moisture but are susceptible to root rot if overwatered. Water deeply, ensuring the soil is evenly moist but not soggy. A drip irrigation system or soaker hoses deliver water directly to the roots, minimizing leaf moisture.
Feed your mums with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer in the spring and again after the first bloom. Avoid over-fertilizing, which can lead to leggy growth and reduced flower production.
To help mums survive the winter, add a layer of mulch around the base of the plants in late fall. It protects the roots from extreme temperature fluctuations and helps retain moisture.
Every few years, consider dividing your mum plants in the early spring. It helps control their size and encourages healthier, more vigorous growth.