Although many of us start our mums in the Spring, there's a good portion of folk who wait until Fall to find them at their local hardware and grocery stores. Even though they really need the summer jump start to grow to their full potential, here are a few things you can do right now to make the most of some last minute flower power!
1. Water: Mums like to be wet, so as long as you haven't hit had a hard frost yet, soak them twice a week and make sure they have good drainage.
2. Sun: 3 hours a day is the least amount of sun these bad boys should be receiving, so make sure to drag them out in the driveway or the balcony when you're away at work so they can soak up all the rays they can get.
3. Cut Them Back: If you're in an area with an extended growing season and frost isn't really a big concern, cut them back short (6") instead of letting them grow tall. They'll provide more blooms by Thanksgiving and big low and bushy instead of lanky with only a few blooms.
4. Tablescapes: If they just aren't getting as big as you'd like them to, bring them indoors instead. Break them up into smaller pots and use them for table settings and parties instead of bringing in new flowers.
5. Save Them For Next Year: Even if you didn't get the most from them this season, they aren't a yearly purchase! Cut them short, wait for the first frost and then plant them around your home. Cover them with a thick layer of mulch and they should come back for you in the Spring and you can start fresh next year!
Do you have a trick that works well with mums? They seem to be everywhere at this time of year! Don't forget to salvage sad, lonely ones at the very end of the season for planting, even if you don't get to see blooms this year — they're usually at super good prices!
(Image: Flickr member amiefedora licensed for use by Creative Commons)