I've never really been a fan of garden mums. I don't have anything against planting mums in the garden, but I've just never been enthusiastic about these fall color providers. I guess I'm just missing the gene that makes gardeners excited about mums this time of year. Earlier this autumn, an unexpected shipment of plants arrived. Inside were these 'Spellbound' garden mums from Raker up in Litchfield, Michigan.
Inside the boxes were two 'Spellbound' garden mums in full bloom. I'm not sure how the company got my address to send me these plants, but I appreciated being greeted by such beautiful color upon opening the boxes.
One reason I've never gotten enthusiastic about mums is that they're a fairly ubiquitous plant. They also seem to be the go-to plant of florist to express sympathy for an illness and loss. But what makes these 'Spellbound' mums special? Well, just look at them for starters. The bright pastel colors evoke the promise of spring, rather than a drab fall and death that I associate with mums.
Have you noticed that there are three colors in each pot instead of the single color you usually find with potted garden mums? There are yellow, pink, and fuchsia flowers in each pot. These plant growers combine three different varieties of mums from the same genetic family in a propagation cell. The result of a three color combination in a pot that makes each pot of 'Spellbound' garden mums unique.
Planting Fall Garden Mums in the Garden
Many gardeners treat mums as an annual and a temporary way to provide color in fall plantings. Garden mums are often tossed once winter comes in many colder climates, but they can be planted in the garden where they will continue to grow. The same neighbor mentioned in the post on saving cockscomb seeds has an impressive border of mums. They've gotten so nice and full over the years and put on a nice display of color starting in late summer that extends into fall. When the blooms start to fade on the potted garden mums she just makes a space for the plant in the garden and mulches it heavily before the first freeze.
Garden mums you find in the fall in garden centers have been grown and pampered to bloom for the fall to take advantage of impulse sales. Their root systems may not be extensive enough to survive a winter, but if someone gives you a mum, or you buy one to decorate a planter with, give it a chance to continue growing in the garden by planting them in the garden. There's no guarantee that it will survive a winter if it doesn't have enough time to establish roots, but there is no harm in trying. Gardeners in warmer zones don't have to worry about this. But those of us gardening in colder zone should ideally plant mums in the spring if you want to give them enough time to establish roots and survive a winter.
Are you crazy about garden mums? Do you think mums are 'meh'?