Your Guide to Selecting and Caring For Chrysanthemums

The beginning of autumn is here when you notice the local nurseries filled with Chrysanthemums – better known as mums. As other plants start to die out and prepare for winter Chrysanthemums show off their bright colors. Some think that these are annual plants but that could be farther from the truth. Chrysanthemums are perennials in many parts of the nation. I also used to take them when they would start to die back after a couple hard frosts and compost them. In the last couple of years I have been using them in my landscape and they have done great. They come in a variety of colors and are displayed throughout nurseries and big box stores. They can grow to be 2-3 feet high if the growing conditions are right and packed with numerous blooms that engulf the plant. Growing mums and keeping them beautiful through the fall season can be a little challenging. Below I have created a few tips that will help you enjoy your Chrysanthemums a season long.

Tip #1:

Mums wilt and turn brown in excessive heat. As tempting as it may be to purchase them when they first arrive, wait until the temperatures in your area have decreased. If you can’t resist, place them in an area that has filtered sun light and water them daily. Until the temperature drops keep them out of full sun. Chrysanthemum will have a longer bloom cycle in cooler weather verse the hotter weather were you just might get a few weeks. After the cooler weather arrives Chrysanthemums like 6-8 hours of full sun.

Tip #2:

You should always be familiar with the place you buy your mums. Before you make your decision stick your finger in the soil of the mum. If it is not damp at least one inch below the surface then move on. To me this is a sign of poor maintenance. There is no telling how long this plant has been with out water and will not perform its best after you get it home. You may be spending more time being a doctor than showing off beautiful bloom.

Tip #3:

Watch for any broken branches. Most of the time these flowers are bundled together at the stores and damage can occur. Flowers will not bloom on a broken branch.

Tip #4:

As hard as it may seem pick the Chrysanthemum that have the least amount of blooms. Choose those in the budding stage or those that have the least amount of blooms will allow you to enjoy the maximum bloom time.

Tip #5:

Water your mums! Chrysanthemums need a lot of water during bloom time. It is good to keep the damp but not wet. Make sure your soil or if potted is well draining soil. You may experience root rot if your soil holds water. In a pot make sure the water drains out the bottom and for those planted in the ground watch for standing water longer than a minute or two.

Tip #6:

Remove any fading flowers. When the blooms start to show signs of turning brown it is time to deadhead them by cutting them. The best way to do this is with pruners not your fingers if possible. Finger pruning runs the risk of tearing the stem which can lead to diseases or pest problems in the future. Make a diagonally cut above the leaves on the stem below the flower. You will notice less flowers as you begin to deadhead but mums have a dynamic blooming stage at the beginning of the season.

Tip #7:

Chrysanthemums will give you three to four weeks of color. To make sure you get the most out of them, accompynied with the six previous steps, be sure to fertilize them weekly. The best fertilizer is 20-20-20¬†water soluble Jack’s Classic all purpose fertilizer. This will keep your mums blooming as long as possible.

 

Most of all enjoy the beautiful colors of autumn and Chrysanthemums.

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