Chrysanthemums in different colors
Chrysanthemums in different colors. NC State Extension

Fall hasn’t even started and the garden centers are already filled with mums. Somehow I made that sound like a bad thing. Chrysanthemums look great in containers at the front door and planted in the garden too. They also last pretty long as cut flowers. And they’re not just a fall decoration, mums are a great addition to the garden for years.

Mums have deep-green, lobed foliage with soft gray undersides. They are available in a number of colors, from dark red and orange to lavender and pink to white. Mums bloom when nights start to get longer in late summer and fall. Some species and varieties can be used as low-growing groundcovers and others can grow to 5 feet tall. All are herbaceous perennials that can continue to bloom for years.

Mums prefer full sun to partial shade. They like slightly acidic, well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Use slow-release fertilizer to ensure an even flow of nutrients throughout the season. Keep plants looking attractive and healthy and full of new blooms by dead heading. You may also choose to choose to cut of side buds on main shoots to create larger flowers.

Mums can be propagated by either division or cuttings. It is important to either divide and re-pot potted plants or transfer potted plants to larger containers to keep plants from becoming root bound. Chrysanthemums are relatively pest free, but spider mites can become a problem in hot, dry weather. Make sure plants receive water regularly in hot, dry weather.

Matt Lollar
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