AgEBB-MU CAFNR Extension

David Burton
Civic Communications Specialist
2400 S. Scenic Ave.
Springfield, MO 65807

October 6 2017

Fall and Spring Are Both
Good Times to Plant Mums

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Chrysanthemums (mums) are one of the most popular fall perennials for the garden because they have a glorious range of colors, a stunning display, and a long lasting show according to Kelly McGowan, horticulture educator, University of Missouri Extension.

"There are scores of different cultivars of garden chrysanthemums from which to choose. Each year new cultivars with improved growth habits, flower color and garden performance are added," said McGowan.

A relative newcomer has been the Belgium or European garden chrysanthemums. These cultivars are known for their spectacular size and display of color.

"Although individual flowers are smaller on these new varieties, they are borne in profusion making for quite a show in the garden," said McGowan.

Chrysanthemums are a member of the daisy family. They are known as "short day" plants because they only bloom when the length of day reaches a critical number of hours in the fall (around 15).

There are both hardy and tender chrysanthemums. Most of the florist mums are not hardy and do not do well outdoors.

Garden chrysanthemums are available in the spring as rooted cuttings established in small containers or during the fall as large, mature plants in or near full bloom.

With most cultivars, spring planted mums should be pinched at regular intervals every three to four weeks to promote bush, compact growth, and more flowers.

"With most cultivars, the last pinch should be made no later than mid-to late July," said McGowan.

Fall is the most popular time to plant because of the instant color. Planting soils should be well-drained and moderately fertile.

"Both spring and fall are suitable for planting mums but if you plant in the fall don't be surprised if your mums suffer some winter injury here in the Ozarks," said McGowan.

McGowan also offers some tips to care for potted mums. She recommends purchasing plants with about one-quarter to one-third of the blossoms open, so you get a longer display once you get the plant home.

"Be sure to water the potted plans regularly. If the plant is allowed to wilt the blossoms will be greatly affected," said McGowan. "Keeping the plant in a cool area and out of the hot sun will also prolong the bloom."

For more information, contact one of MU Extension's horticulture specialists or educators in southwest Missouri: Patrick Byers in Webster County at (417) 859-2044, Kelly McGowan in Greene County at (417) 881-8909 or Robert Balek in Jasper County at (417) 358-2158. Or, call the gardening hotline operated by the Master Gardeners of Greene County at 417-874-2963.

Source: Kelly McGowan, (417) 881-8909

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