A very popular plant for late season color is fall mums, also called “Garden mums” or “Hardy mums”. Fall mums were once known as Chrysanthemums, but taxonomists have recently changed their botanical name to Dendranthema x grandiflora. Fall mums are available in a wide selection of colors, flower types, shapes and sizes. They are a low maintenance, easy to grow plant that can be kept in containers or grown in beds. They are drought resistant and generally free of insect and disease pests.
Most fall mums are purchased and planted from late August into September. They prefer to be planted in an area that receives full sun, but most cultivars can get by with a half day of direct sunshine. For ultimate growth, plant your new fall mums in fertile well- drained soil. Poorly drained soil is the leading cause of winter mortality. Young plants in small containers should be planted 18-24 inches apart. Mature plants can be planted at any desired spacing providing they are planted no closer than just touching their neighbor. Fall mums in containers need to be planted in the ground BEFORE the first hard frost!
Fall mums should never be allowed to wilt…especially newly transplanted plants. Check your mums every other day for watering until you become familiar with their needs, particularly during dry spells. Be sure to thoroughly water-in your new transplants.
Newly planted fall mums will not require any fertilizer this season. During the next growing season begin feeding your mums as new growth emerges with fertilizer. Feed your plants at least monthly until August.