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Tips for growing mums in the fall landscape

Fall ready — Mums brighten the autumn landscape whether planted in the ground, baskets or pots. © iStockphoto

Fall ready — Mums brighten the autumn landscape whether planted in the ground, baskets or pots. © iStockphoto

The Hoosier Gardener talks about fall-planted mums Sept. 8 on Indianapolis’ Fox 59, and offers tips to help the plants through winter.

Here are some tips:

  • Get these fall-blooming perennials in the ground as soon as possible. If using mums as container plants, it’s unlikely they will make it through winter, so enjoy their seasonal color as you would annuals. Make sure to keep pots watered and you’ll get several more weeks of color in the garden.
  • Plant mums (Chrysanthemum) in full sun, in well-drained soil that is moderately moist. If the soil is too wet or too dry, the mums will suffer. They tolerate part shade, but if it is too shady, the mums will get leggy and have smaller flowers.
  • Deadhead, or remove spent flowers, to keep plants looking tidy and to promote more blooms.
  • No need to fertilize the plants until you see new growth next spring.
  • Do not cut the plant back this fall. The dried flowers and stems serve as a buffer or insulation to protect the plant during winter. When you see new growth in spring, cut the dead stems as close to the ground as possible.

Some garden centers may have other plants for fall color, such as pansies (Viola), stocks (Matthiola) or Aster. Also, many of our summer annuals get a second wind when the temperature drops, such as snapdragons (Antirrhinum), Petunia and Osteospermum. Cut back leggy annuals to renew them and boost blooms.

Fall clean up in the air

Compost starter — Fall leaves are a great way to start a compost pile. © Fotolia

Compost starter — Fall leaves are a great way to start a compost pile. © Fotolia

The nature of each season has distinct sounds, smells and scenes.

This time of year, wind rustles crisp leaves from trees and scurries them along the ground. The fragrance of fall is the rich, earthy aroma of decaying plants. Perhaps best of all are the scenic reds, golds and other colors of the season.

These natural displays signal that time is running short for end-of-the-season tasks. Here are some tips:

  • Complete transplanting perennials, spring bulbs, trees and shrubs. You want to make sure roots have to take hold before the ground freezes.

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