I get asked this question about 10 times an hour… on a slow day! Being the manager at Milner Village Garden Center, we are well known for our gorgeous mums that we sell every fall.
We should be… since it is one of our biggest crops grown in our greenhouses each year!
The hard working ladies will stick nearly 300,000 mum cuttings into soil to create these beautiful planters.These Tri-Colored combo’s are grown specifically for Costco in Canada…now you know where to get yours!
We also have what is referred to as the ‘mum field’ where we let the plants color up naturally.
It’s an amazing site seeing these perfectly shaped domes all lined up getting ready to explode into the rich fall hues they are known for.
So I decided to do this as a Q & A to answer all the questions I get every day about how to care for fall mums. If you have a question you don’t see here, be sure to comment and I will be happy to answer!
Asters are generally hardier ( Zone 4 ) than mums ( marginal Zone 5 ). They are compact mounding shrubs that are covered in star-burst like daisies in the fall. Mine are just starting to bloom now, Sept. 16th.
They are limited in their colors and only come in blues, pinks, purples and whites.
Fall mums have a much bigger range of colors and come in pinks, reds, rusts, deep plums, pure white or white blends, garnets, purples and of course yellows.
Buds… lot’s of them! A perfect plant to take home will be 80% buds with just a little color starting to show so you can see what your getting. More buds = longer show. You can expect 4-6 weeks of fabulous color that way.
But if you are planning a special event… like a wedding two weeks from now, grab one that’s 1/2 to 2/3 in bloom so you can be sure you have lot’s of color for the big day.
The best time to plant mums is in the spring when they have plenty of time to put down root growth. In the fall they are putting all their energy into producing flowers… which of course is when people buy them because they look so amazing…. but it’s not the ideal time for planting.
In the above picture, the yellow mum is one I bought this year and the two behind it just getting ready to bloom are from three years ago… they come back religiously every spring in those planters.
I’ve had some come back that were planted in garden beds in the past, but none the last couple of winters…. and it’s not just because of the cold.
I live in Vancouver…. it rains…a lot! Mum’s need good drainage, which is exactly why they’ve done so well in those pots all these years even though they are fully exposed on a windy corner of the patio.
Wind chill, poor drainage and extreme cold temperatures will prevent a fall mum from coming back. Try to create a micro climate to protect them from these elements by doing the following:
Not now. Since you just brought it home from a nursery, it’s been on a liquid feed diet for months and has slow release fertilizer in it’s soil mix. All the buds are formed and now the plant just needs to do it’s job.
Begin feeding in spring until August, then stop.
Pinching it back. Once the plants reach about 4″-6″ you’ll want to pinch it back about 1″-2″ or half way down the stem. Then do it again once it doubles in size. This process could be repeated several times but no more pinching after July… it’s time for it to set it’s buds for fall.
The answer is yes if they ingest it, symptoms include diarrhea and vomiting. But this is a toughie though… as there is a very long list of plants that are considered toxic to pets. I have two cats, a dog and about a god-zillion plants inside and out. I’ve never had problems with them trying to eat their green brother and sisters, but then again… I think the my animals understand perfectly well how ‘green people’ rank in the household.
But do be cautious.
I thought you’d never ask! Well now, I love my mums paired with fall gourds, hay bales, in planters and in garden beds. We love how much color they bring to the retail in fall… like a co-worker remarked recently when they walked into the store, ” It’s like Mum-land in here “
Please visit my post on 14 Gorgeous Fall Planters to see how you can pair fall mums with other fabulous fall plants to create breathtaking containers.
So I hope that answered your burning questions about how to care for fall mums. If I missed one… I expect to see it in the comments below.
Follow Sow and Dipity on: