- Author: Carolyn Neumann
Fall is here and while we feel the growing season has come to an end, we still have many options for both fall color and veggies.
Several years ago a new type of chrysanthemum was bred, called Belgian and Prophets they boasted hundreds of blooms per plant and by using different varieties their blooming season could be extended out to about 6 months.
There are "very early", "early", "mid", "late" season mums. Some early season mums will bloom as early as late June, while the late season bloomers have a limiting factor being frost. Mums can be found in a variety of colors including yellow, white, bronze, purple, and red being the more common colors and now so some hybrids showing bi-colors are showing up such as a yellow with a bronze edge.
Tips & Tricks:
1) 4 inches high on the fourth of July-Years ago my grandmother shared a little garden rhyme with my mom pertaining to mums, she sited "4 inches high on the Fourth of July", cut them back to 4 inches, unless you have some very early bloomers you may wish to leave them alone of cut the back, they will flower again for you in about a month. Keep them blooming longer by removing/grooming spend blossoms. Instead of just taking of the bloom and leaving a bunch of unsightly sticks, when deadheading, prefer to run my forefinger and thumb down the stem about 5 inches and snip or pinch there.
2) Lasso them in, being such abundant and happy growers mums can be over zealous and spread in to what some feel is an unsightly manner. If you wish to keep them more controlled with regard to symmetry, secure a round of twine or green garden tape around them as they reach 1 foot tall.
Often Mums from the florist or from the floral department are given as a hostess gift in a pot or purchased as a treat to add color to the fall entry. Do not hesitate to remove the mums from their pot and plant in the yard when you are done enjoying them as they will give you year after year of happy returns. And if you are really tricky, take a cut stem from an arrangement and stick it in the ground where it will stay moist but not wet, in a few weeks you will have a new plant. Mums must have full sun. while the prophets and the belgiums used to be clearly marked, that seems to have gone by the wayside. I suggest journaling when your mums bloom and make adjustments to their placement and/or propagation accordingly.
Final cutbacks after first killing frost can be done in December or January or when ever they have been blackened or unsightly.
Next month...Winter flower options for your garden, Helebores, Cyclamen, Camelias, Berginia, Brunnera.