Mums the word – fall’s favorite flower
By Hannah Smith
N.C. Cooperative Extension
Saturday, October 19, 2019
Mums, mums, mums the word. We are talking about chrysanthemums of course!
The vivid autumn colors that signal the arrival of fall on nearly every doorstep. While they are most commonly used as an annual container planting (as seen in the accompanying photo) these blooms are much more versatile than many realize.
They can be planted as a perennial with proper care for enjoyment year after year. Mums are available in a wide variety of colors including pink, purple, white, bronze, orange, red and of course the ever (some would say most) popular pick — yellow.
Mums also come in a variety of shapes and petal arrangements. The possibilities are there for you to find what you love most!
If you are thinking of planting your mums in the fall or spring and treating them as perennials, be sure to pinch back (or deadhead) new growth to ensure lots of blooms.
You should only pinch back new growth in the spring — about ½ to 1 inch every 4 weeks — until mid-July.
Do not pinch plants after this time! Doing so will remove potential flower buds for the fall. Perennial mums will spread, so keep in mind that division will be necessary every few years.
It is easy and efficient to time fertilizer applications to coincide with your routine of pinching back new growth. These two practices combined will ensure dense, healthy plants with an abundance of blooms.
It is best to water in the morning in order to give plants the time needed to dry off before cooler evening temperatures arrive, helping to prevent any fungal diseases from developing.
With such a wide variety available, there truly is a mum out there for everyone! Minimum care and rich color make for a fall favorite that will give you beautiful blooms well until the first frost.
Our Extension Master Gardener Volunteers are also on hand for assistance and advice for all things gardening! You can reach them via the Extension Master Gardener Infoline on Mondays and Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon at 902-1709. They are a treasure for insight and real-world advice in the world of horticulture.
You can, of course, find me in the Pitt County Extension Office or by contacting me by phone or email; both can be found at pitt.ces.ncsu.edu.