Gen­er­ally mums bloom Septem­ber through Novem­ber—when the days grow shorter—and stay vi­brant for weeks.

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Mums are most of­ten thought of as sea­sonal pot­ted plants, some­thing to place on the porch to cel­e­brate fall. But once the flow­ers fade, the plants wind up in the com­post bin. Hardy mums like the Igloo va­ri­eties and ‘Sh­effield Pink’, how­ever, are tough enough to sur­vive win­ters as far north as Zone 4 and have a loose, ro­man­tic growth habit that looks right at home in a plant­ing bed. Put the plants in the ground now, and with the right care through­out the year, they’ll put on a col­or­ful per­for­mance each au­tumn.

Plant in early fall to give roots a chance to es­tab­lish be­fore the ground freezes. Loosen the soil around their roots with your fin­gers, and plant in well-drained soil in a sunny spot. Wa­ter once a week through fall. Let the faded flow­ers and fo­liage re­main on through win­ter. (Re­mov­ing them may stim­u­late new


growth that wouldn’t sur­vive win­ter.)


Pro­tect plant’s roots from freez­ing tem­per­a­tures with a thick layer of straw as mulch around the plant base.


Af­ter all chance of frost has passed, cut off last year’s stems at soil level.


Cut mums back to about half their height —go ahead, use hedge shears— around the Fourth of July to pre­vent them from get­ting lanky and flop­ping over. If you’ve planted one of the Igloo se­ries, wait un­til af­ter its first bloom to trim, then en­joy its sec­ond bloom in the fall.


To main­tain healthy, vig­or­ous plants, di­vide mums ev­ery few years. Dig up an es­tab­lished clump in spring af­ter new growth has emerged. Sep­a­rate into clus­ters and re­plant.


Igloo mums: gera­ni­um­rozanne .com. Other hardy va­ri­eties: avant gar­den­


Also called daisy mums, these perky flow­ers

have long petals sur­round­ing a bright

cen­ter disk.

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