Making Mums Last Longer
Hello y'all! It's been a while. It's been a busy summer mostly, so it's time to settle down and get this blog going again. Can you believe that it's August already and in just a month we will be decorating for fall and doing all those fun fall things. When I think fall flowers, it's the mums I think of. But, when we buy them they are loaded with buds and then sometimes if we don't take the proper car of them, they die way too soon. So, How do we make mums bloom longer this fall? I have 3 easy tips to this success.

When it comes to keeping your mums blooming longer this fall, a few simple tips can go a long way to help provide long lasting blooms. Without a doubt, mums are the most go-to plant for your fall decorating. There are so many bright vibrant hues and beautiful foliage. They add such a big interest to the autumn displays and with so many colors to choose from they match any color theme. So, our same old story, you find some mums you love and they are loaded with buds and we buy several and boom, a week later they seem to be fading already. It can be quite depressing to watch them fade away long before fall even draws to an end. Now, Mums do have a limited cycle of blooms. But there are a few key secrets to caring for them that can extend their blooming times, and keep them fantastic all through the season. Even better, if you are sure to select a hardy mum at the time of purchase, you can overwinter them to use again next year. And that can certainly save on the garden and decorating budget.

So, the first thing you should do is purchase budding mums, and not blooming mums. Keeping your mums blooming throughout the fall season begins at the moment of purchase. Or, more importantly, at what stage of the mums flowering cycle they are in when you take them home. Big, beautiful plants in full bloom might look enticing in the store, but they will be fading soon. Once a mum's flowers are out in full force, they might have two weeks at best of full flowering beauty. And, unless you need them for an instant display today, it's best to avoid them all together. Look for plants that are in full buds, or just barely beginning to show color. Mums at this point can give you beautiful blooms for up to 45 days or more. Now, when you purchase mums to keep, another big key when purchasing your mums in the fall is to look for hardy mums. These are the mum varieties that can handle overwintering with a bit of care. Hardy mums can really stretch your gardening dollars by providing years of blooms and life. They can be overwintered in post or planted directly into your flower beds to come back again and again. Most labels will tell you if a mum is hardy or not. Hardy mums are often referred to as garden mums. They have full foliage and larger blooms. Floral mums are not winter hardy, and should be avoided when trying to save for several years. Floral mums are usually smaller plants with small cluster blooms.

The second thing you should do to keep your mums blooming longer is keep the plants cool and shaded. Make no mistake, mums thrive in full sun, but that sun and heat also speeds up the blooming cycle of your plants. And pretty fast. You know how hot this SC heat can get, even in September and October. Both, hot temps and full sun can put the mums into full bloom mode. In addition to that, the added stress of the sunlight shortens the life of the blooms that appear. But, the good news is, when kept in a partially shaded location the mums keep their blooms for a much longer period of time.

The third thing you should do to keep your mums blooming longer is keep the plants hydrated. It is very important to keep your mums watered. And, believe it or not, how you water can also play a big role in how long and vibrant your blooms will stay. It is a simple fact, but the quickest way to shorten a mums bloom period is with inconsistent watering. Fall temps may be cooler, but the drier, less humid air also takes moisture away much faster. And that means plants can suffer quickly. So, check the soil of your plants daily with the tip of your fingers. If the soil is dry, water well. Make sure to water long enough that the roots deep down in the container receive water. But, just as important as watering is to water gently. The best way is to put the nozzle of your hose or watering can under the blooms. Why is that so important? Heavy water on the blooms can damage the blooms and shorten their bloom Sylvester. When blooms become saturated with water, they weaken and fade at a faster rate. They can also burn or scorch when the hot sun heats up the water droplets on the tender flowers. To avoid this, some gardeners don't water from the top at all. Instead, they opt to sit their pots in a container and water from the bottom, allowing the water to soak upward into the roots. This is a big thing that our florist does for a lot of different plants. But no matter how you do it, water gently, and try to always keep from watering in the heat of the day or when the sun is shining at full power on your plants. So, that's about it for mums. One other small thing is, when you plant your mum in the ground and it dies off in the winter, and it comes back in the spring with beautiful greens, make sure you cut it all the way back again or you want have any blooms for the fall season that year.

So, in the coming weeks, maybe you want to empty out some old worn down summer plants and clean them up for mums to come or clean out some spots in your flower beds for mum planting this fall. Who says you can't have a beautiful colorful garden in the fall? So until next time - Remember to live life in bloom!