It’s September! The temperatures are dropping, the kids have made their way back into the classroom and my annuals are slowly fading away. But take heart my gardening friends, fall has brought in garden mums, one of my favorites for a fall garden.
Garden mums (or hardy mums, as they are also known) come in a vast array of colours, shapes, and flower sizes. The blooms can last for weeks, are drought resistant and are generally insect and disease free. Because mums are so easy to grow, I think they are a must-have for any garden.
Mums are considered a “soft” perennial, meaning that they can grow back every year but the root system can be susceptible to frost and cold temperatures. This can definitely be a problem in our neck of the woods. Tillsonburg Garden Gate has put together a few helpful tips to caring for your garden mums.
Overwintering Container Mums
Garden mums do very well in containers. Just keep in mind that mums tend to dry out quickly and must be watered at least once a day. If your mums become root-bound, it is important to re-pot them to ensure that the moisture can be retained.
If you have decided to keep mums in their pots throughout the winter, it is best to bring the plants indoors to avoid freezing temperatures. Once the mums have finished blooming, frosted over and have turned brown, cut them back to one inch of the soil. Be sure the soil is moist. If you are bringing your containers into a heated space, you will have to water your mums monthly.
If you are bringing your containers into a space that is not heated, I suggest that you place some newspapers around the base of your pot. This will act as added protection from the cold.
Planting your Mums
To treat your mums as a perennial, they do require a little TLC throughout the year. It is a good idea to plant mums a few weeks before the first frost. This gives the roots time to establish before the cold weather arrives. When planting mums, choose a spot that is nice and sunny. Mums do require a little added protection so planting them close to the house can provide added warmth and shelter. Keep in mind that mums can grow to be quite bushy and large so ensure that there is enough room for them to flourish. Make sure that the mums are watered thoroughly and it is a good idea to add a layer of mulch around the base of the plant.
Once the plant has frosted over and died off for the year. Cut the stems back to about 2-3 inches above the soil. Cover completely with mulch, straw or dried leaves to protect it from the cold.
Spring Revival of Mums
Once the new shoots start poking through in the spring, be sure to water regularly for the first few weeks. From early spring to mid-summer, it is a good idea to trim the new growth back about one inch for every five inches of growth. From early spring to Canada day, pinch off any new blooms as they start growing. This will make sure that your mum will bloom long after your summer perennials die off.
Planting your mums may require a bit more work than your other perennials but the results are definitely worth it and will extend the beauty of your garden through the fall. For more growing tips or to see the huge selection of garden mums, visit our experts at Tillsonburg Garden Gate.