It’s time to rip out your annual flowers and start planning your fall display!  I suggest  giant pumpkins, bundles of cornstalks, and big, fat, 16″ MUMS!  Chrysanthemums, commonly known as Garden Mums (as opposed to florist mums which are less hardy) are planted in our area as an annual flower in the fall but what you may not know is that they are really actually a perennial.  I know a lot of my competitors are probably freaking out that I am telling you this, but whatever.  I don’t care.  It’s a fact.  We plant them every fall for some customers and take them back out in the spring to plant pansies and we could leave them in year’round.

Chrysanthemums come in a wide variety of colors, including white, off-white, yellow, gold, bronze, red, burgundy, pink, lavender and purple. Mum plants can grow to be 2-3 feet high, depending on the cultivar and growing conditions. Chrysanthemums also come in many flower forms; that is, chrysanthemums are often grouped by the shape and arrangement of their petals. The most popular flower form is the “decorative,” which is so packed with long, broad petals that you can hardly see its center.

Mum’s are photoperiodic; in other words they bloom in response to shorter days and longer nights.  That being said, bed preparation and selection of planting area are critical if you want the most breathtaking mum display.  You should assure you give the plants at least 6″ of 50/50 compost/topsoil mix.  If you have a bed that is adjacent to a paved area, this may mean removing some existing material and replacing it with your mix to keep the material at or below grade so it doesn’t spill onto the pavement.  The other things you need to consider are whether there are street lights or night/landscape lights nearby.  These plants thrive and bloom when they have a long night without light.  If there are nighttime lights, you could feasibly WRECK your mums display.  You also need to make sure they have lots of space between plants for proper air circulation or your plants could potentially be plagued by disease.