The wonder of chrysanthemums: Brilliant autumn and the secret to planting and caring to create accents for your garden

Chrysanthemums — often referred to as mums — are a classic favorite, blooming for fall gardening. They bloom in bright reds, yellows, oranges, and other rich colors and brighten gardens when the weather turns chilly. You may not know that the Hardy Mums we grow at Heeman’s are actually a perennial in our zone and when planted in the ground they will grow and bloom again each fall.

Mums traditionally flower in the fall and are timed to match the length of the day, so they trigger flowering when the days get shorter. Growers like us can actually speed up a mother’s flowering time by changing how much sun she gets each day, and after a few weeks the plant will be tricked and begin the flowering cycle. Because of this and the many different varieties of chrysanthemums, you can get plants that bloom in early September and late October.

Caring for your Potted MumCaring for mums in pots is one of the easiest tasks a gardener can have. Just choose a compact plant with lots of branches and set buds. The biggest part of caring for your mom is choosing the right ones, so making sure the flowers aren’t expired or blooming when you want them is very important. Most mums will give you color for 3 to 4 weeks, so buying mums in bloom will limit the time you can enjoy them.

Once you have your mother home and she is budding or flowering, you can place her in almost any sunny location. Water them regularly and fertilize once a week with 20-20-20 to keep your blooms as long as possible.

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