By Jennifer Poindexter
A few years ago, I was throwing away my decorative mums that the fall frost had finally ruined. My neighbor saw me, and said, “What are you doing?”
I explained that my mums had died, and he quickly let me know that mums are a great perennial in my planting zone, and I should never toss them.
Ever since then, I’ve started planting my decorative mums at the end of the season. If you like to decorate your home with mums each fall, don’t make the same mistake I was making.
Instead, find different locations around your yard that meet the basic growing conditions of chrysanthemums.
I like to keep my store bought mums in pots until the cold weather begins turning the flowers brown. At this point, I find a location with nutritious, well-draining soil and direct morning sunlight.
Then I’ll dig a hole large enough to support the plant’s root system. Once the plant is in the hole, I backfill it with soil and water deeply.
I’ll provide water as-needed until the frost depletes the plant of most of its color. At this point, I prune the plant back to where there’s only a few inches of it above soil level.
From there, I provide a couple of inches of mulch around and on top of the plant. This is to insulate the roots of the plant over winter.
Be mindful not to bury the top of the plant. I made this mistake in the past and if the mulch is too thick, the plants can’t break through the next growing season which leads to their death.
With proper care and protection, your mums should return each year in planting zones five through nine. Another method you may use is to save your mums in pots.
When the plants have died back, prune them to where there’s only a few inches of each plant above the soil level.
After you’ve completed this step, place the pots in a cold frame, a garage, or a closet, depending upon your planting zone and how harsh winters are in your area.
You should only water the plants occasionally over winter, but ensure you wait until they’ve dried completely between waterings before providing more.
The next growing season, the plants should produce new growth when coming out of dormancy.
Take these pointers into consideration when deciding on ways to avoid wasting your decorative mums. They could make a great addition to your landscape and keep your home looking festive without accruing more costs each year.