Fall blooming garden mums are known as the plant for fall. They signal the return
of cooler weather after a hot summer in southern Illinois. Warm days and cool nights
make the colors burst with renewed intensity in shades of red, burgundy, bronze,
orange, gold, lemon yellow, pink. cream, or pure white.
Planting and Care of Garden Mums: -Plant in a sunny location (at least 5-6 hrs. sun
-Grow in fertile, well-drained soil.
-Add peat moss or compost & manure to improve the
soil before planting.
-Space garden mums 18-24 inches apart.
-Always thoroughly water-in any newly planted garden
-Use root stimulator when planting and 2 more times at
2 week intervals.
-Use bone & bloodmeal or an all purpose granular
fertilizer worked into the soil during the growing
season. Repeat monthly until August. Liquid fertilizer
may also be used during the growing season.
Fall mums can also be added as bedding plants in flower beds with other perennials
or shrubs. They are superb for use as specimens in foundations plantings, massed
in beds or grouped in plantings of 3 or 5 for colorful focal points in the landscape. Fall
garden mums can be planted either as young plants in the spring or as flowering plants
in the fall.
Beautiful garden mum hanging baskets can also be created to add a finishing touch
to any landscape. They can be started in late spring or early summer from young
plants or purchased in bloom and planted in moss lined wire baskets for a stunning
display of color.
Uses for Garden Mums:Enjoy mums as patio plants in pots at entrances, on decks,
front door steps, in window boxes, or as fall decorations with straw bales, corn
stalks, pumpkins, and gourds. Their wonderful mounds of flowers are perfect to plant
in containers, urns, or whiskey barrels, or set the pots in baskets or other decorative
pot covers. Use them as you would pots of annuals and enjoy the color for weeks
in the fall.
Pinching: To encourage branching and development of compact bushy plants, it is
very important to pinch back your garden mums in the spring as soon as the new growth
is 4 to 6 inches tall. Use your thumbnail and index finger to remove or "pinch"
about 1/2 of the new growth at the top of each stem. Repeat the process through
the summer whenever new shoots are 3-5 inches long (about every 3-4 weeks). Repeated
pinching of new shoots until mid July is important for developing plants which will
be sturdy and full of flowers in the fall. After the last pinch your garden mum
will grow to be more than double in size.
Winter Care: Leave the dead tops of mums standing through the winter (this helps
the plants overwinter better). Prune the dead growth off in the early spring. Mulch
mums in late fall after leaves are dead using straw or evergreen branches only. Do
not use mulch or leaves. Even with winter protection, fall garden mums are an inconsistent
perennial and will return year after year about 50% of the time. To ensure better
overwintering, plant mums in early spring as small plants or in early fall so they
have more time to establish roots before winter.