Buying mums, or chrysanthemums, adds a touch of autumn color to your garden or home. When you’re purchasing a mum in New England, you should consider several factors to ensure the health and longevity of your plant:
When to Buy: Purchase mums in late summer or early fall. Look for plants that are full of buds but not yet in full bloom. This will allow you to enjoy the longest possible period of blooming at home. Once buds start to break open, their colorful bloom will last about four to six weeks. Buying plants that are in full bloom, while beautiful, will not give you as much bloom time at home.
Variety and Color: Mums come in a variety of colors and sizes, so consider what would best match your home or garden’s aesthetic. Typical fall colors include yellow, bronze, red, maroon, purple, and white.
Plant Health: Look for plants that are healthy with no signs of disease or pests. The leaves should be a vibrant green with no yellowing or spots.
Location: Mums need plenty of sunlight—at least six hours a day—so consider where you will be placing them. They also need well-drained soil, as they can get root rot if the soil is too wet.
Care: While relatively low maintenance, mums in will need regular watering as they can dry out quickly. They also benefit from deadheading, or removing spent flowers, to encourage continued blooming.
Overwintering: If you hope to overwinter your mums, you will need to provide them with plenty of protection from the cold. This can be particularly challenging for container mums, which are more exposed to freezing temperatures.
Annual or Perennial: Finally, be aware that despite your best efforts, it is unlikely that your mums will survive the winter. Most gardeners in New England choose to treat mums as annuals, purchasing new plants each fall. This can be a factor in deciding how much you want to invest in overwintering efforts.
Keep these considerations in mind and you will be well-prepared to enjoy beautiful autumn blooms from your mums.