Mums make a great addition to any fall landscape with their showy blooms in autumnal hues ranging from bright yellow and deep rust to vibrant lavender.
While they can be the perfect complement to fall decorations, next to the scarecrow and pumpkins, mums shouldn't be thrown away after they have bloomed out.
There are just a few tricks to extending the life of mums and keep them blooming for years to come.
"What I usually tell people to do is, once they have bloomed out, find a good spot in your garden and plant them there," said Julie Logan, owner of Greenbrier Nursery and Gifts in Evans. "Most people have what I refer to as a 'mum graveyard.' "
Mums left in containers will only last as long as the first frost. But planting them before they are hit by the frost is key to keeping them from season to season.
"The key is getting them in the ground before they are bitten by frost," said Logan. "You have a better chance of them surviving if you do."
The planted roots have a chance to establish themselves and stabilize the plant during the harsh winter months.
To keep mums throughout the winter and into the spring, Logan suggests simply planting the mums, then cutting or pinching back the stems and covering the exposed plant with pine straw.
"They will come back out when it gets warmer weather," she said, adding that mums will bloom again in April or May.
After the mums bloom out in spring, the stems can be clipped back to just a few inches and they will bloom again in October.
To keep mums from getting too "leggy" -- or bushy -- continue to pinch them back until just before buds form.
Also, be sure the plants are fertilized with a liquid fertilizer. Doing so will produce a beautiful green plant.
Mums multiply freely, so it's necessary to divide them every two to three years.
Regardless of where the plant is purchased -- a supermarket, nursery or big-box retailer -- and regardless of the variety -- mums come in hundreds of varieties, common among them are the spider, daisy and pompom -- most mums will provide years of blooms as long as they are properly cared for.
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