Garden mums have been on my mind for a while with the many ones I see in full bloom right now. Forget the ones in a large plastic pot that you set on your front porch and throw away when it is a dried desiccated plant corpse. I am talking about the mums that grow in the ground and are hardy.
Don’t get me wrong… I use those wonderful large blowsy mums for fall displays, but in the garden, I prefer the ‘garden mums’ which are extremely hardy and are the lifeblood of my honeybees when they are starving for nectar in October and November. Deer resistant only until the plant starts to form buds, and then the deer will clear cut them! So, if you have deer, start to spray the plants when they set their flower buds.
The reason I don’t see many garden mums at people’s properties, is they are a hard sell in the spring when most people visit the nursery to buy their flowering annuals and perennials. The garden mum foliage is barely growing out of the pot in the spring, and shoppers pass on to something that is blooming and beautiful.
Hardy garden mums put out stolons. Florist mums put out few or no stolons and are less likely to over-winter in cold regions. If you aren’t a plant geek, ‘stolons’ are a creeping horizontal plant stem or runner that takes root at points along its length to form new plants. So, If you plant a garden mum expect it to travel a bit and make a great showing when it finally blooms in the fall.
The plants’ late blooming period makes them a must-have in the North and Mid-Atlantic fall garden. Mine are in full bloom right now in late October going into November and will last all month long.
- Botanical Name: Chrysanthemum morifolium
- Common Name: Hardy mums, garden mums
- Plant Type: Perennial
- Mature Size: About 2 feet high (but varies by cultivar)
- Sun Exposure: Full sun
- Soil Type: Well-drained, evenly moist, and rich
- Soil pH: Slightly acidic to neutral
- Bloom Time: October into November
- Flower Color: Yellow, Orange, all shades of pink, red
- Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9
- Native Area: Asia and northeastern Europe
There are two new varieties I want to try next year – Raspberry Sorbet (pinkish purple) and Coraligraphy (rustic red). I will be looking for them!