Perennial mums or chrysanthemums, the gorgeous fall flower in everyone’s fall displays. Did you know that those gorgeous mums you buy to provide color in the fall are usually a perennial and will come back year after year if you plant them properly and provide them with the well draining soil and a sunny spot?
They do, if you buy mums just make sure you buy hardy or garden mums which will be hardy in zones 5 to 9. If you want your mums to come back next year don’t keep them in the container after you buy them, Go ahead and pick the spot you will grow them in and add plenty of compost both to feed the mums and to provide good drainage. After they have bloomed and the frost has killed the green part of the plant, Just leave the black stems until spring and mulch around the plant to provide a little insulation. When the new green shoots start coming up in the spring then go ahead and cut down the black stems from the previous fall. As your mums grow through out spring and into summer watch the size and shape of your plants. If left unchecked mums will become sort of straggly looking and kind of woody. You need to let it grow to around the height you would like it to be when it blooms and then start pinching back the new growth. So if you like the plant two feet tall, let it get there and when it goes over two feet pinch the top inch off of the stem that is getting longer than the two feet. This will make sure your plant is the height you wish it to be but also it will cause the plant to send out new stems and the whole plant will get super full. Keep pinching the stem tips to control the upward growth and when flower buds begin to appear you will want to pinch them off at first. You will continue to pinch until the third week of July. After this stop pinching and let the plant begin to make flowers. By this time your mum plant will be nice and full and by fall it should be covered with masses of flowers. You can do this year after year and the flowering plant will be more like a flowering bush in about the third year. I kept some going for five years once, up until I forgot to mulch them for winter and they didn’t come back, The 4th and 5th year my mum plants in the fall when they were in full bloom were bushes that were almost three feet around and just covered with beautiful yellow mums.
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