Fall Chrysanthemums: Make Them Last
October 15, 2012
Chrysanthemums add beautiful colour to fall.
(Photo by Andrea Kratzenberg/Sxc.hu)
Mums, mums, mums. The flower that represents fall. Potted chrysanthemum plants provide a bright backdrop for adorning front porches, Thanksgiving tables, or anywhere flower-lovers want to add colorful decoration in the fall.
Chrysanthemums are often treated like annuals, because they are relatively inexpensive, but many people don’t realize that they are perennials. With some proper care, your potted chrysanthemum plants can last through the winter or even be winterized in a garden for regrowth the next year.
Don’t plant your chrysanthemums into the ground in the fall. Flowering mums that are planted in the fall don’t often make it through the winter because the plants don’t have the time (or the inclination, since they are working hard on flowering) to extend their roots beyond the pot-bound root ball into the soil. Fragile roots are damaged by the frequent cycles of freezing and thawing that winter brings. Naturally, without a good root system, the plant dies.
However, you might have success in keeping your potted chrysanthemums alive by wintering them in a cool, dry location (garage, porch, etc.) that doesn’t freeze. After cutting off the foliage, keep your plant barely moist throughout the winter. Water it lightly once a month. When the threat of frost is past, expose them to warmer temperatures and more water. Then, after the last frost, you can plant in the ground and begin to water more regularly
You can even take chrysanthemum cuttings and propagate your plants until you have as many new plants as you need.
In the meantime, as you care for your potted chrysanthemum plants this fall, water them regularly. Soak the mums until water runs out through the holes in the pot bottom. (Be sure to remove any plastic wrapping around the container, so the water can drain properly.) After the initial soaking, water daily or until soil is moist. Don't allow the potted soil to dry out, as this will harm the plant.
Keep chrysanthemums in natural light or in the direct sun, whether indoors or out. Mum plants need plenty of sun for proper growth. Keep them away from night lighting, as this disturbs their flowering cycle. A plant with buds that are just beginning to open is a good one to purchase, as it will last longer.
Deadhead the spent blooms on your chrysanthemum plant. After flowers begin to wilt and die, pluck them from the plant at the base of the flower. Leave on any buds, blooming flowers and leaves.
Water mum plants in the spring as new growth begins and color returns to the plants. Keep them well watered throughout the spring, fertilizing once a week for the first couple months and then ceasing fertilization once blooms are present.
If you have questions about mums, or any flowers this fall, stop into Kelowna FlowerScene. We’re here and happy to help!
Kelowna FlowerScene is located in the Kettle Valley area of Kelowna, BC. Serving customers across the Okanagan for weddings, special occasions, birthdays, or just because; their original, hand-made floral arrangements and bouquets inspire great beauty. Kelowna flower delivery available or visit us in-store!