MUMS: FALL GARDEN ROYALTY
Quite possibly the most famous of all the fall flowers, mums have graced store shelves for decades as one of the top choices for autumn planting. When our poor spring and summer plants are struggling to perform at the end of a long and hot Indiana summer, these stunning, classic beauties deliver crisp brilliance in a compact form that thrives in the cooling weather.
THE HISTORY OF MUMS
Gorgeous and captivating, Chrysanthemums found their start thousands of years ago in ancient China. Alongside bamboo, orchids, and plums, mums were revered and classified as one of the “4 Noble Plants”. These plants made up an exclusive selection of flora that only the noble class could cultivate and enjoy, giving them a mysterious, regal air that was just out of reach.
Quite taken with the powerful qualities this plant possessed, the Japanese quickly fell in love with the magic of mums when they were first introduced to it in the 18th century. In fact, they were so enamored with the flower, they couldn’t help themselves from using it for their Emperor’s seal. Today, their love of mums still prevails, with their highest order of chivalry still being classified as the “Order of the Chrysanthemum.”
Over the many years, mums slowly made their way to the west, finding themselves in Europe in the 17th century, where they went on to capture the hearts of people across the globe for centuries to come.
CHOOSING A CHRYSANTHEMUM
In the United States, mums are one of the most widely and commonly grown plants grown in pots. It is a statement-making, centrepiece flower that we have highlighted in pots, vases, bouquets, and corsages for many years and their popularity certainly hasn’t wavered.
When it comes to picking a chrysanthemum that works for you, you certainly won’t have to worry about a limited selection. There are hundreds of varieties to choose from with different blooming patterns, colors, and aesthetics, so finding the perfect fit isn’t far out of reach.
Once you’ve selected your variety, you will then have to pick out your plant, and there are a few things to look for that will indicate a plant that will give you the best performance. The best mums will be strong and well-shaped, with more buds than flowers to give you the longest season. Also, if gently shaken, a hardy plant should not flop, but it should hold its shape.
CARING FOR MUMS
As annuals in our region, mums are a short-term investment, so caring for them is refreshingly simple!
You will want to start with a hole dug in well-draining soil that has been loosened or amended with peat moss to help the fibrous roots of the chrysanthemum take quickly to its new home. The more efficient the roots are at firmly setting themselves into the soil, the hardier it will be against our cold, Indiana weather. Gently remove the plant from its pot and carefully massage the roots to loosen them before placing in the ground.
Water your mum frequently to keep the soil moist, especially once the frosts arrive. Given plenty of water and full sun, you should see beautiful blooms on your chrysanthemum late into the season.
Mums have been a classic autumn staple in gardens everywhere for many years. Their plentiful petals burst with color and personality that is sure to bring a breath of springtime and promise of warmer weather, just as the world begins to cool. Regal and elegant, this is one plant you won’t want to be without in this coming season.