OK Gardeners ... Question about Mums

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by donna723, Oct 28, 2007.

  1. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    This is something I should know and don't... :frown:

    A few weeks ago I bought five big mums from Lowe's to put on my front porch. They're really gorgeous - three yellow ones and two that are a bright copper color. They're the kind that form a big rounded mound and bloom a long time and have so many flowers that you can't see the leaves. I repotted them in larger pots and have them going across my porch and down the steps. They're really pretty - you can see them from a block away.

    So here's the thing ... if the store called them "Garden Mums", does that mean that I can plant them in the yard and they will come back next year? Is that not what "Garden Mums" are? Or am I being overly optimistic?

    If they would grow in the yard (maybe if I covered them for the winter?) it would be worth it. But bear in mind that I am old and fat and lazy and NOT the type to willingly go out, grab a shovel, and dig five big holes in my yard if it's going to be for nothing! Has anybody ever tried this?
  2. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I don't think so, donna. Usually a store or garden center will refer to them as "Hardy Mum" if you're looking for them to come back next year.
  3. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    I planted some pots of mums I received as a gift last year. I figured they may not make it because they were given the black soil, but thought I really hated to just throw them out. They grew back and seem to be thriving. I would give it a try and would be happy if you could save the copper ones (love the color), but keep in mind the white ones may be hardier.....

    I didn't even cover with leaves, but planted in a more protected area.

    I would get out my shovel and try it......
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    All I can say is that mine came back. I dunno why. But they came back every year. I planted my garden mums because they were so pretty I couldn't bare the thought of tossing them out. (I figured I wouldn't find such nice ones the next year)

    But then husband says I use so much Miracle Gro on my flowers they couldn't die if they wanted. :rofl:

    PS I've had begonias come back, too. They were the kind you have to plant every year. mother in law was shocked. (I didn't know it was a big deal) She said I must have some how gotten hold of both male and female plants.

    It won't hurt anything to try.

  5. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Mums are a perennial. They will come back every year. They will also stay green all year around, an evergreen, non-decidious.

    They do need full sun, so plant them in a sunny place, and watch them thrive! The best thing is that, sometimes, they will bloom in the spring and the fall!
  6. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    I second that - My name is Star, and I'm a flower-fanatic.

    Mums need also to be dead headed - take you top thumb nail and place it under the spent bloom, flick it off holding the stem with your index finger (like you did with dandelions when you popped their heads off as a kid)

    The more you do this? The more blooms you will get, let the spent heads go into the ground for recycling.

    Also if you live (depending on the zone) in a zone where you get a light frost before THanksgiving? You can cover the flowers at night with a sheet to lengthen the life of the plant. I never have cut them down once they die out due to cold, but I do cover with Pine straw, until the Spring. I wait until Spring, but I'm in the South and by the time that I uncover them from the pine straw I can see little greenies and then it's easy just to bend the straw like stems over and snap them or just gently pull them out to give the new growth a chance to live. Also check with your Extension office (soil sample) for how to fertilize or add some nutrients. Personally I love Miracle Grow.

    FRUGAL TIP: If you go to Lowes at this time of the year there are pots and pots of 1/2 dead mums - or rather they are spent (bloomed) and no one will dead head them. I get them for about .25 each pot. Not all will live and again depending on where you live - but in the spring I have TONS of flowers. Actually I just did this spring finally give up on Mums that I have had blooming from a "dead pile Lowes deal" almost 6 years ago when we moved in and I had no budget for flowers.

    Asters are not as hardy. And Hardy Mums DO tend to be a little tougher lasting or drought resistant.

    Happy Planting
  7. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I think it may depend upon where you live...and we're in CT so the plant has to specifically say "hardy" or it won't come back...unless we have an especially mild winter, which has happened to us in the past. A lot of my annuals from my flower boxes came back in the Spring. It was quite a treat!
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Star's got some good advice, especially about buying the spent plants really cheap and then rescuing them. Some plants are a waste of time and money to do this (ie coriander!) but chrysanthemums are great.

    We don't get frosts here, just occasional summer hail instead. But I read a lot of plant books, most of which have been written for Northern Hemisphere conditions.

    Even in CT, if you mulch over winter the plants should survive. The thickness of the mulch will depend on how bad things get in your area, and if any part of the plant is still green it could get frost-damaged, but a number of plant varieties commonly die right back for winter and almost grow while you watch when the weather warms up.
    Some plants - you don't wait for them to die back, you cut them back to ground level and then mulch over the top for winter.

    If in doubt, check with a nursery man in your area.

    I'm more into herbs etc than flowers. And don't envy me the lack of frosts - this limits a lot of plants. Many seeds and bulbs will not grow here until we put them in the fridge for a few months first. Some plants won't grow here at all - I'd love to grow raspberries and others in that group, but not a hope. And my herbs STILL die back for winter! At least, most of them. I found a marvellous little salad gem called Salad Burnet - it actually stays green through a snowy winter, according to my notes - they used to use it to ward off scurvy through long white winters in Europe. And it's pretty, too, with a delicate cucumber taste to the leaves. It's the only green herb I know which seems happy winter or summer. Mostly it's the woody plants which do OK over winter, but there are exceptions.
    And remember, this is based on my reading and learning about Europe, I can't test things for myself.

    Good luck with the mums.

  9. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    See, that's why I asked because it gets confusing. Usually, here, if you want mums that come back every year you buy the small ones in the Spring and let them grow all summer. They're not as pretty as these are. I don't think we have much luck planting the big, pretty ones they come out with in the Fall. They're more just temporary decorations.

    I guess I'll give it a try though, since I've already got them. Thanks, everybody.

  10. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    I have mums (in Michigan). After they have passed their prime I plant them in the yard ... full sun.

    In the late spring (middle May) I usually chop the foliage right down to the ground. By fall they are full and ready to bloom. They are very hardy and usually last for years.

    by the way ... once they are in bloom they like moist soil. I water mine most every day when they are in pots on the porch. Also remember to dead head ... they will bloom much longer.
  11. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Here, if you plant the small ones in the spring, they pull off all the buds that form BEFORE the Fourth of July - after that you let them go. It's supposed to make them bloom more.