Gardening Articles: Flowers :: Annuals

Marvelous Mums (page 5 of 5)

by Barbara Pleasant

How to Transplant a Blooming Mum

Spring is the best time to plant chrysanthemums, but you can set out blooming plants in fall if you're careful.

Here's how to help them survive their first winter in the ground.

  • 1. Select bushy, well-branched plants with small, leafy stems emerging from the base of the plants, or sprouting around the edge of the pot.
  • 2. Choose a very well-drained location. More fall-planted mums die from root rot than from the effects of low temperatures.
  • 3. Dig a planting hole twice as wide as the plant's rootball.
  • 4. Set each plant in the planting hole 1 inch deeper than it grew in its nursery pot; spread out the roots.
  • 5. After cold weather kills the flowers and leaves, water only if the soil becomes very dry. Trim back tops very slightly, mostly to remove dead blossoms.
  • 6. Leave plants unmulched until Christmas. If by then you have no snow cover, lay conifer boughs over the plants' crowns.
  • 7. Should you decide to move your mum, wait until near the time of your last spring frost. That's the best time to dig and divide any garden chrysanthemum.
  • 8. When growth resumes in spring (or just after transplanting), work 1/4 cup of low-nitrogen fertilizer (such as a 10-10-10) into the soil around each plant.

Top Garden Chrysanthemums

Even though there are hundreds of good varieties of chrysanthemums available, the advice of experts in various regions resulted in this short list of the most outstanding or noteworthy. The list is divided into two categories based upon plant height. The short ones, often called "cushion" mums, grow 12 to 15 inches tall. The tallest mums reach some 30 inches tall.

Dwarf or cushion varieties that grow to 15 inches tall:

'Debonair'
Color: Dark lavender.
Flower type and bloom season: Decorative; early.
Bushy and hardy, a good Yoder Prophet to buy in bloom now and plant in your garden.

'Gypsy Wine'
Color: Wine red.
Flower type and bloom season: Pompon; early.
Only 12 to 15 inches tall, with noticeable fragrance.

'Sunny Morning'
Color: Clear yellow.
Flower type and bloom season: Decorative; midseason.
Surprisingly large 3-inch flowers on bushy 14-inch plants.

'Target'
Color: Two-tone yellow.
Flower type and bloom season: Decorative; early.
Vigorous and weather resistant, another good Yoder mum recommended for growing as a garden perennial.

Tall, upright varieties that grow to 30 inches:

'Sarah'
Color: Golden butterscotch.
Flower type and bloom season: Quilled-decorative; late.
Large, 2 1/2- to 3-inch flowers develop from an exceptionally strong plant.

'Carousel'
Color: Silver amethyst.
Flower type and bloom season: Quill; early.
Large 4-inch blossoms on tall, 30-inch plants.

'Clara Curtis'
Color: Light pink.
Flower type and bloom season: Daisy; very early.
Strong 18- to 25-inch plants.

'Dolliette'
Color: Yellow with red-bronze petal tips.
Flower type and bloom season: Open quill; midseason to late.
Quilled 2-inch blossoms with darker petal tips create vivid effect.

'Grandchild'
Color: Lavender with red-violet center.
Flower type and bloom season: Pompom; early to midseason.
Compact, bushy, 18-inch tall plants are hardy, sturdy and permanent.

'Maroon Pride'
Color: Dark red.
Flower type and bloom season: Double, single, or daisy; early. Shaggy, 3-inch, double blossoms on vigorous mounded plants. Super hardy, released in 1991 by the University of Minnesota.

'Single Apricot' ('Hillside Sheffield Pink')
Color: Pastel apricot pink.
Flower type and bloom season: Single or daisy; midseason.
Hardy, dependable, and heavy blooming, 30-inch plants.

Barbara Pleasant grows more than 25 varieties of garden chrysanthemums in her Brevard, North Carolina home.

Photography by National Gardening Association

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