Fall mums - Extending the Season

Posted by: JaJeJems

Bronze Cushion Mum with Jack O'Lantern!

I don't know about where you live, but in Eastern Ontario we have been enjoying a lovely Indian Summer.  The definition of Indian Summer is a hot spell after a killing frost.  It usually occurs between the end of September and the middle of November with temperatures in the 20 C  range. Well that is what we are experiencing right now and we are loving it! Today it was lunch on the porch and an afternoon of gardening.

When the first frost comes we are always sad to see our lovely, colourful summer flowers gone.  Sometimes it is the frost that does it or maybe its the fact that they have come to the end of their cycle.  This generally means emptying pots and beds in preparation for the winter.  A sad time for sure!  Then along come the lovely reds, golds and browns of the changing leaves and once more we are inspired by their colours which are generally at their peak early in October, just in time for our Canadian Thanksgiving.

Empty pots at the end of summerIn recent years we have noticed that Garden centres have been extending the plant season by offering lovely fall flowers for sale well into October, often around Canadian Thanksgiving and right along with the sale of pumpkins for Halloween. 

One of the most popular items is a wide range of fall mums that come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colours.  The wonderful thing about these plants is there longevity, well beyond the colourful autumn leaves. Often they are still hanging in even after a heavy frost.

Fall mums are now treated mainly as an annual and have become very popular as container plants.  Once September comes the container flowers are usually past their prime but there is no need to despair as they can be replaced by colourful mums, either alone or in combination with grasses, flowering kale or cabbage, millet or asters. Before scrub bring out those containers for winter storage, try filling them with some mums!

Fuschia mums sitting on a birdbathThere is a wide variation in colour with fall mums, including red, yellow, bronze, white, lavender, fuschia and orange and they blend well with other fall flowers, gourds and of course our Halloween favourite, the pumpkin! Mums are an easy to care for plant

Whether you leave them in their original pot or transfer them to another container, your mums should be kept moist, watering at least 3 times a week if the weather is dry.  If you purchase your mums around  the first week in October and they are not fully in bloom, you can anticipate having them looking good until early November.  Frost may kill some of the flowers but these can be trimmed off and generally there are lots of buds under the dead blooms just waiting to burst open on the first warm day. 

Yellow mum with pumpkinsMums can also be planted in the ground, however, planting in the fall does not give the roots an opportunity to get established and even well mulched plants have a hard time getting through the winter in cold climates. As an option, hardy mums can be planted in the spring to give them time to establish themselves in the garden. 

Check with your local garden centre to find the right variety to suit your needs.  Most mums are reasonably priced and in our area are available in abundance from the middle of September until early October.

If you are inspired by the lovely colours of summer and autumn and you want to extend the season a little before the cold grey and white of winter sets in, then why not consider some fall mums

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Nov 4, 2012 | Delightful Suds

thanks for sharing this great article.

Nov 4, 2012 | LisaGold

I love mums too, but I actually had a hard time this year (late October) finding nice looking mums in Toronto. Even Sheridan Nurseries didn't have much too offer. I'll have to start shopping for them earlier next year.

Oct 31, 2012 | JaJeJems

Just another thought! We have cut some of the blooms from our fall mums and they last a long time in a vase- over a week. A nice way to bring some colour into the house on a dreary day like today.

Oct 28, 2012 | JaJeJems

I think that you can buy mums for indoors at the florist or gracery store but the flowers will fade and not come back. We have tried transplanting these in the garden without success.

Oct 27, 2012 | Jewelry by Kat

Love mums! Good info....Kat

Oct 27, 2012 | Red Rock Designs

Great info. Can these grow inside? I'm always looking for inside plants, that are dog friendly.

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JaJeJems (aka JaJeJems )
York Harbour, NL, Canada

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