As Fall rolls in we all know what plants we are going to buy, MUMS! Mums are the staple plant during the fall season because of their beautiful variety of colors. Colors include gold, white, burgundy, red, orange, pink, purple and yellow. Not only are the colors spectacular but their blooms last for weeks and weeks on end. Mums look great in mass planting’s as well in a container planting. When putting them in a container planting try adding other plants such as Kale, Cabbage, and grasses for a full fall effect.
Now we all run into a big question when it comes to a mum plant:
IS IT PERENNIAL or ANNUAL?
I know that I do not have very much luck getting a mum to come back the following year and neither do most of the people who buy them. When it comes to getting a mum to winter over we must first figure out what type of mum we bought.
- Florist Mums which have larger blooms are primarily grown in greenhouses. These mums are found year round and DO NOT come back when planted.
- Hardy Mums on the other hand have a higher chance of returning to your garden in the spring. They produce stolons which are horizontal stems that grow on the surface or just below the soil. They form new plants at the end of the stems, called runners. Some florist mums put out only a few or no stolons compared to hardy mums. Most garden mums are perennials in zones 5 to 9. Please note that some cultivators are less hardy than others and can be killed by an early spring frost.
One of the most important things to remember about insuring your mum to make through the winter is to it PLANT EARLY! They should be planted at least 6 or more weeks before a killing frost. The more time the mum has in the ground for its roots to grow the more likely it will be to return in the spring. Another key tip is to cut the mums 3-4 inches above the ground after the frost has killed the foliage and add a thick layer of mulch to help with the wintering. Just make sure when spring arrives that you pull back the mulch. These articles below also discuss how to winter over your mums and for care the following year: