Monday, October 13, 2014

What to do with Potted Chrysanthemums

One of the things I look forward to in fall is the blooming of Chrysanthemums. I covered them in my Plant of the Month post last Monday. They are abundant in size, shape, and color and bloom well into fall giving your dying garden a splash of color.  They come in two basic varieties:  Florist Mums and Hardy Mums. Florist Mums, grown in zone 7 or higher, are generally the ones you find in the stores in the spring, whereas Hardy Mums can grow in zones 4 through 9. 

Chrysanthemums are easy to grow, but should be planted in the early spring after all danger of frost is gone. The roots need at least six weeks without extreme heat or cold before they become established perennials. So what do you do with the plants you get in the fall to decorate your home, decks, and patios? 

Potted mums aren’t necessarily grown to be perennials, but then again, I have stuck them in the ground only to have them come up again in the spring.  And sometimes, they didn’t.

After they’ve outlived their usefulness as the bright spot next to your door, I suggest go ahead and plant them in your garden.  Plant them in the ground as soon as possible, even if they look done in. Even though they may look dead, doesn’t mean they are—they could just be dormant. By not planting them, the plants will definitely die, at least this way you have a chance of them popping up in your garden next spring.

So what do you do?  Clip off all the foliage to a couple inches of the top of the pot.  Find a spot that gets lots of sun and has rich, well-drained soil. You could even plant them in a sheltered area like next to the house for added protection from the frost.  Plant them at the same depth as they were in the pot.  Water and mulch them well.

Who knows, maybe you’ll see them reappear next spring.

Your turn:  Have you tried planting the mums you buy this time of year?  What results did you have?

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