Mounds O’ Mums

Walking through the Flowerland greenhouse on this fine September day, it’s enjoyable to see the color array that Chrysanthemums provide. Instant color for a weary garden after a hot summer, Mums instantly remind us it’s autumn. As people select their plants invariably the question arises, “Are these truly hardy mums? Will they come back next year?” The answer is yes they are hardy which is why we call them Garden Mums. The mums sold outside in September and October are hardy to zones 5-9 which makes them “hardy” in West Michigan. A few caveats however. 1) Mums do like a well drained soil so if you have heavy clay soil and the water sets your odds of success are decreased. 2) If the mums are in containers above ground such as on a front porch, you need to plant them in the ground for over wintering. Plant roots above ground over winter will not survive even in a pot. 3) After hard frosts and the plant dies later this fall, cut it back, but leave some “stubble.” At least 4 to 6 inches of stems. Why? It will be easier to locate the plant next spring, and the stubble will hold 3 to 4 inches of mulch in place for winter ensuring its survival. (Click on image to enlarge)

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