The Oklahoman

Mums the word

- Rosanne Loparco

Nothing says fall like mums, the most colorful flower in the fall landscape. Mums were cultivated in China where the plant was believed to have the power of life. Today its popularity makes it hands down the queen of the fall garden.

The chrysanthe­mum plant family contains different plants in addition to mums. The term garden mums apply to the fall-flowering beauties most of us adore. Although not always available at every garden center, there are six garden mum bloom forms: pompom, decorative, spider, anemone, single daisy and spoon.

Mums are happiest in as much sun as possible. They like soil that drains well and includes organic matter such as compost. They make excellent container plants too. Adding some general-purpose fertilizer will help them last longer. Don’t water too much, but don’t let them dry out either. They will tolerate a light frost and have a long bloom period, especially if you deadhead spent flowers.

Mums are usually considered annuals. However, it’s possible fall-planted mums will come back next year, especially if planted in a warmer spot or if we have a milder winter.

Plant them in the warmest spot in your yard (i.e., a southern exposure or against a building). When a hard frost kills the tops of the plant, cut off the dead stems and cover the plants with mulch, three to four inches deep.

You also can just mulch the plants in as is, without cutting them, and then just wait for the green growth in late spring before you cut off the dead tops. Either way, the mulch cover is important to give your plants some insulation. It’s worth a try!

If you would like more informatio­n about this lovely flower, visit the National Chrysanthe­mum Society USA at

 ?? GETTY IMAGES ?? Mums are the most colorful flower in the fall landscape.
GETTY IMAGES Mums are the most colorful flower in the fall landscape.

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