Nothing says fall like the colors of fall mums in the garden and in containers on your deck or patio. Many times, mums are treated as a temporary annual color splash in the garden. Plant them in September and remove them when the blooms are spent in late October. They can, however, be used as perennials. Mums are one of the easiest perennials to grow, but there are a few key things to remember if you want your mums to continue from year to year.
Mums can be planted just about any time. They are most plentiful in the late summer or early fall. In choosing a planting location for your mums, choose a site that gets a minimum of 3-4 hours of direct sun each day. The soil should be loose and well-drained. Wet roots through the winter will be fatal to your mums, so be thorough in your soil preparation.
Dig the hole twice as wide as the pot, but not quite as deep as the pot is tall. Remove the pot and loosen the outer roots slightly. Place the plant in the hole and back fill around it with the soil that came out of the hole mixed with some Bumper Crop soil amendment. Be sure the top of the root ball is slightly higher than the surrounding soil. Do not pile soil on top of the root ball. Water you mum thoroughly.
Once the plant has finished blooming, you can remove the spent flowers to help keep the plant neat and attractive until the cold weather kills the top growth. Do not remove this top growth until spring. The twigs will help to insulate the root zone and keep it healthy until new growth begins in April. Fertilize your mums with balanced perennial fertilizer about once a month throughout the growing season. To keep them compact and bushy, pinch back the new shoots until mid-July.