Help Garden Mums Last Longer

Garden mums are plentiful this time of the year in various sizes and colors.

Buying garden mums is easy. Go to any big box garden center, and you will see a flood of them. Go to your local garden center, and they are there, too. Regardless of where you buy them, they are all essentially grown the same way. The post harvest care is the key to enjoying beautiful garden mums. Here are a few tips that will help you buy good ones and get them to last longer. First, only look at mums that are showing some bud color and have less than half of the blooms open. This will usually double the blooming beauty of the plant by several weeks. Also the plants have very brittle stems, so be sure you do not purchase ones with broken stems. Since they are generally very dense this can be somewhat deceptive. Pick the plant up and inspect the stems around the edge of the pot to make sure they are not bent or broken. Once you get the plants home, two things commonly limit their maximum length of beauty – lack of water and not enough sun. Since the root system in the pot is so dense, frequently more water drains out of the pot holes than is absorbed into the plant’s roots. One way to help this is to take a long small stick, like a bamboo pot stake, and jam it into the plant’s soil in several places. This will help the water penetrate the soil and get more water where needed. Wilted plants are a primary cause of shorting the flower life of these plants. While these plants look good in many locations, they were grown in sun. It is important to keep these plants in a sunny location most of the time. If not, the flowers will not hold their color well and oftentimes have a shorter bloom time. Once these plants finish blooming they are great candidates for the compost pile. They are not going to overwinter well, and if they do, they will not be the compact plant you bought in your garden next year.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *