Chrysanthemums, also called mums, are flowering plants of the genus Chrysanthemums and in the family Asteraceae. These colorful plants are native to East Asia and northeast Europe. Known as an easy-to-care-for and late-season bloomer, they have become a favorite autumn flower in the USA. Most garden mums can endure a light fall frost, making them the ideal plant for late summer and early fall. As a bonus, they are available in many colors and varieties largely due to hybridization.
Per Better Homes & Gardens, there are two main types of mums: florist mums and garden mums. Florist mums are also called cutting mums and come in various bloom forms. They are mainly grown in greenhouses and are used primarily as indoor plants. Those planted outside are generally unable to survive the frost. Garden mums are better equipped to survive light frost and are considered sturdier than florist mums. Thus, they are sometimes called hardy mums. Most garden mums are perennials, ideal for planting outdoors in climate zones 5-9. If planted outside of those areas, plants may lack vigor or fail to thrive.
To get the biggest bang for your buck, when buying mums, look for those with more buds than open flowers. Not only will they last longer but also repotting them is generally easier. In some cases, compacted root balls on the plants may need to be gently broken up before going in the ground or pot. Caring for mums is straight forward. They prefer full sun, require watering upon planting, and should be watered every other day thereafter. You’ll want to deadhead them often to make them look more attractive, extend bloom time, and keep the dead blooms and stems from competing for water. Mums planted outdoors should be grown away from weeds that can compete with your mums for space, water, and nutrients. Mums can be fed every 7 to 14 days with an all-purpose water-soluble plant food as needed.
Mums are colorful plants that can be potted or planted in a garden landscape. Since they are generally inexpensive and easy to care for, and because they thrive in the autumn from September to deep frost, they are the quintessential plant of the season. Their vibrant flowers are known to exude joy and add pizzazz to a front porch or home entryway. They are also eye-catching when planted as a grouping in a garden, thereby increasing a home’s welcoming appeal.
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