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

FALL

growth that wouldn’t sur­vive win­ter.)

WIN­TER

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

SPRING

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

SUM­MER

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.

LONG-TERM CARE

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.

SOURCES

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

SIN­GLE OR SEMIDOUBLE

Also called daisy mums, these perky flow­ers

have long petals sur­round­ing a bright

cen­ter disk.

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