Fall Flowering Mums

Burnt umber, aubergine, gold and rich pink mums are as much a part of the autumn aesthetic as pumpkins, gourds and bales of hay. Once upon a time I callously turned my nose up at mums because they weren’t elegant or ethereal flowers.

But, today I love having hearty mums decorate the outside of my home during the fall months. As soon as the late summer heat fades, I visit my favorite local nursery to buy the large domed mums that you can plant in the soil of landscaped yards or in pots situated next to outdoor entryways, along walkways and nestled on a stone patio.

I am far from a green thumb (a trait that my late grandmother possessed and was passed along to my dad but skipped me). If I was going to get real, I’d just confess that I am quite terrible at maintaining plants. My excuse is that I am a busy mom. But, really I would rather sit and have a cup of coffee in a free moment than go outside and take care of my flowering plant.

So I looked to the National Chrysanthemum Society for a few tips on maintaining seasonal mums in the autumn months. Keep in mind that while mums can be planted in the spring, I typically purchase the potted version in the fall just prior to flowering season.

How often should I water mums?

Mums are fairly low maintenance. During flowering season (September and October), water mums around three times a week. The frequent rain that occurs this time of year where I live means that I don’t have to physically water the plants myself every time. Whew!

Will my mums come back next spring?

Not likely. Typically, mums planted in the fall do not make it through the winter. The plant’s roots do not have time to extend into the soil, and they have a difficult time enduring frequent freezing and thawing that occurs during the winter months.

Do I need to plant mums in a special soil?

No. Mums thrive in slightly acidic garden soil.