Mum is the Word: Tips on Choosing and Growing Chrysanthemums

tips for choosing the correct chrysanthemum

Growing chrysanthemums is as easy as it is rewarding. Some people grow nothing but chrysanthemums, and why not? There are so many varieties of mums that you could plant an entire garden of them and achieve almost continuous color by choosing varieties that bloom at different times. And who doesn’t need some tips on how to get the best results with your chrysanthemums? Read on for some of our best advice.

Out of the thousands of varieties of chrysanthemums available, we have narrowed our stock down to what we consider the four best types: Belgian, Perennial, Igloo and Yoder.

Perennial Chrysanthemums

As the name indicates, Perennial mums will return each year if planted and cared for correctly. Many of the perennial mums were originally cultivated in Minnesota, where it gets very cold. So it’s not hard to see why they wanted to develop mums that could survive the winter. Also, learning how to prune your perennial mums will encourage lots of blooming on these unique beauties.

Belgian Chrysanthemums

Belgian mums are actually a subset of perennials. Named after their country of origin, you might as well call them supermums, in that they are highly prolific, producing as many as one thousand buds per bloom season. They are also tougher and hardier than other garden mums. If you worry that your mums might get damaged by wind and rain, or that they might not overwinter, choose Belgian varieties.

Yoder Mums

Yoder mums are a typical garden mum that is not perennial and blooms only in the fall. They come in a lovely range of colors.

Igloo Mums

Igloo mums offer a show-stopping burst of color on a traditional, mounded, garden mum shape. And with a hardiness that makes it a perennial in zones 5-9, what’s not to love?

Growing Chrysanthemums: When and How to Plant

  • Mums are great for adding color, so analyze your yard for areas that might need brightening up. Take advantage of the fact that mums come in short, medium and tall varieties, as well as a wide variety of flower sizes.
  • To achieve something approaching an ever-blooming garden, be sure to include mums from each of the bloom-time categories: very early, early, mid, and late.
  • You can plant your mums at any time of the year as long as the roots have at least six weeks to become established before the temperatures drop below freezing.
  • Avoid planting in excessively hot weather. If your area has been in the 90s or above lately, wait until the temps cool down before you plant.
  • Plant mums a couple of feet apart so they will able to spread out and bloom to their fullest capacity. This will also prevent mildew by ensuring optimal air circulation.
  • Since mums take their blooming cue from shortening days, avoid planting them near streetlights or other nighttime light sources.
  • Water mums regularly, but don’t let the roots become waterlogged. A fertile, well-draining soil is also crucial to their success.
  • Emma Coral Bicolor Yoder Garden Mum PlantMums need plenty of sunlight. Five or six hours of direct morning sun is ideal.
  • Prepare your soil by mixing in compost, and applying a phosphorous-rich fertilizer such as Neptune’s Fertilizer. Continue to fertilize at least once a month until the mums begin to bloom.
  • One of the most important tips for growing chrysanthemums is that they need to be pinched back to encourage bushiness and optimal flowering. Follow the directions that come with the particular mums you purchase.
  • Insects like to nest in the leaves in the fall, especially aphids. Dust lightly as needed with a natural insecticide such as diatomaceous earth.
  • Once your garden mums begin to bloom, stop fertilizing or it will fade the flowers.
  • After fall flowering has ended, dig some troughs around your mums to help allow water to run off during winter ice thaws. Apply mulch to protect your mums’ remaining leaves and stalks.
  • Keep tabs on which shrubs have become the thickest, and any that are more than three years old. When spring comes, divide these in order to minimize susceptibility to disease.

Happy gardening!

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