Mums have been grown for their beautiful fall flowers for centuries (recorded as early as 500 B.C.) The flowers come in many beautiful colors and bloom from early September until late fall. Mums will grow well in almost any soil although they prefer harsh, limy, well-drained soil. Full sun is best, but a half day’s sun will suffice. When used as cut flowers, mums will last up to three weeks after picking. Mums can also be used as potted houseplants.
Gently knock plants out of pots. Plant so that the top of the rootball is level with the existing soil surface. Use a 50-50 mix of Meadows Farms Planting Mix and your existing soil to fill in around your mum. Water well and apply a plant starter such as Espoma BioTone Plus. Mulch 2- to 3-inches with Meadows Farms Shredded Mulch to maintain moisture and prevent winter heaving. A fertilizer such as 5-10-5 can be applied in spring. Plants should be spaced 18-24” apart.
Groups of three, or complete mum plantings are very impressive, yet a single specimen amidst other material will also show up very well. Mums may be moved in full bloom to any desired location, even a partly shady location. Potted or tubbed plants are delightful on terraces, porches, patios, etc.
In late fall, after blooms are finished, cut old stems down to 4-6” and apply 2-inches Meadows Farms Shredded Mulch to prevent frost heaving in winter.
We recommend an annual spring division of established mums.
If you are wondering why your beautiful, bushy mums turned into leggy, floppy ones, pinching is the answer. The first pinch in May is the crucial one. Remove at least ½ of the mum tops, leaving approximately four leaves per stem and the ground. This produces “breaks” low enough to support the weight of many flowers. Pinch back half the new growth in June and half the new growth in July. Pinching after July 10 delays the flowering and may create flowers at frost.
Watering, in dry spells, should be liberal on a weekly basis, not hit or miss daily. Keep free of weeds. Retain loose mulch all summer. Application of a liquid fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro is good.
Diseases are seldom a problem. Aphids may be a problem in the spring. Use Bayer Insect, Disease, and Mite Control as recommended to control them.