Gainesville Landscape Flower of the Month: Fall Mums
Instant impact! That's what you'll get when you put a generous helping of chrysanthemums (commonly just called "mums") in your entryway, flower border, or containers. Generally sold in ready-to-bloom form, mums add a fall finale of color to any setting. They come in a wide variety of flower colors and shapes, from small button-sized blooms to giant corsage-worthy flowers. Mum colors include white, yellow, pink, orange, red, burgundy, cream, salmon, and bi-color - which are all also great fall colors to go with Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations. There are also dwarf forms that grow just 8 to 10 inches tall and standards that can reach a couple feet in height. Mums are very popular with bees and butterflies, too.
They're only downside? They aren't this colorful year-round. As beautiful as they are for fall, they typically don't last through winter without special care and maintenance. A cold winter will freeze them down completely, but it depends on how they're protected.
Mum Growing Instructions
Be sure to select plants that are labeled "garden mums." Varieties sold indoors at florists are generally not cold hardy and should be treated as short-lived seasonal gift plants for interior design only. Mums prefer a sunny spot in the garden with well-drained soil. Avoid locations where water stands after a heavy rain or flower planters without good drainage as they will get root rot. To get the best bloom on large-flowering types, pinch off all the buds in late May. If your mums grow too large, divide them in the early spring every two to three years. After a few years some mums may begin to weaken or die out. Add new plants every year or two to keep the fall color show going. Deer and rabbits generally avoid dining on mums, so this is a safe plant for those Millhopper Rd and other deer feasted landscapes.
Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White, Yellow
Moist, well-drained soil