Fall Means Mums

 
 What is Fall without mums? At least that is how I feel. I just can't picture my yard without mums gracing it during the Fall. Out here in California, I have found that the mums actually bloom twice a year, once in spring and then again during the autumn.



Have you ever noticed the variety of mums that you can choose from? There are yellow, orange, purple, pink, white, fuchsia, red and various shades of autumn colors; single or double blooms in a variety of showy flower heads. 



Did you know? Mums are photo-sensitive and form flower buds when the length of daylight starts to shorten (usually late July). If you plant them under a streetlight or lamppost they may never set buds.
Mums received from a florist tend to be less hardy and take longer to bloom than most garden variety mums and should be planted earlier in the season to avoid killing frosts.



The mums in these pictures were here when we bought this place in 2003! We rarely ever get a killing frost here, so the mums just keep growing and growing from year to year. Late mums put on a great show in areas where frost does not arrive until late November.



To help mums develop more bud-bearing stems, pinch back the growing tips twice -- once in late spring and again in early July. Be careful not to pinch mums any later, or they will not have a chance to develop flower buds on time.



Mums need a constant supply of nutrients to make strong, steady growth. Sprinkle Vigoro® All Purpose Plant Food with timed-release nutrients into the soil around the plants and then mulch over the area.





In midsummer, after you have pinched back your plants for the last time, give them a "booster feeding". Pull back the mulch, sprinkle fertilizer onto the soil around the plants and replace the mulch. This feeding will provide the plants with ample nutrients to support heavy flowering and will help insure deep rooting which in turn enhances winter hardiness and resistance to drought.



Have you ever planted mums? If so, what is your favorite variety or color?

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