Written by Paige Vandiver
You look forward to it every fall – heading to Stockslagers, perusing all of the pumpkins and painted gourds, autumn-themed ornaments and cider-scented candles sure to make your stoop and dining table are Pinterest-worthy! And of course, mums – the happy puffballs of of pure fall joy. These are the flowers that signal that it’s time to make a big pot of chili, light the fire pit, and begin plotting the best Halloween costume yet.
As beautiful as they are, mums can be confusing. Are they annuals or perennials? That depends on the type of mum, and the time of year you plant.
Hardy Belgian Mums are Technically Perennials. Here’s How to Get Them to Act Like It.
When you visited Stockslagers this fall, you probably noticed our large, showy Belgian mums that burst with hundreds of blooms. If planted at the right time, these beauties are sure to come back, but it will take a little effort to give them the best chance of survival.
In Ohio, the best time to buy and plant your mums is in the spring. This way, they can use their energy to establish roots before peak flowering in the fall.
You can also plant mums in late summer or early fall (mum season indeed!) but be sure to follow the guidelines below to give your chrysanthemums the best shot at making a comeback next year.
- When picking out your plant, choose one with more buds and fewer flowers.
This ensures there’s still plenty of growing time, and the plant is still young and fresh.
- Make sure your mum is planted where it gets at least 6 hours of sunlight.
If there’s not enough sun, mums tend to grow long legs and get spindly, instead of maintaining their gorgeous compact shape.
- Use compost to provide maximum nutrients for your plant.
Fall is the perfect time to start a compost pile. For instructions on starting your own, check out our blog about composting!
- Give your mum enough water so that it doesn’t become wilted and dry out.
This is especially important for mums planted in containers!
- Mums love to be hydrated, but make sure there is sufficient drainage so the roots don’t rot.
Tips for Overwintering Mums
Give your mums a fighting chance at coming back next year by following these simple steps:
- Pinch off the dead flowers but don’t prune any of the branches until spring. This process is called “Deadheading.”
- Place mulch up to 4 inches all around your mum, working it between the branches.
- Prune the stems in the spring and wait for new growth!
If you want to overwinter your mums indoors, then place them in pots (with as much of the roots as you can get) after the first sign of frost. Store them in a completely dark place and keep their soil moist. In the spring, gradually allow them to get acclimated to the light and replant them outdoors. Prune the branches and cross your fingers that you see new growth.
Stop by Stockslagers Greenhouse & Garden Center in the Miami Valley For Beautiful Flowers and More
Whether they come back or not, mums are sure to bring joy to your fall garden after all your more tender flowers have faded. And of course, remember that we are always here to help you with your toughest gardening challenges, and to help you enjoy your colorful puffball mums for years to come.