Enjoy mums for the moment
As we all enjoy the beautiful fall mums we have purchased in our Garden Centers it is only natural that the thrifty among us would like to know if they can be planted in our gardens and enjoyed next fall. The simple answer is probably not.
The mums purchased from our garden centers with their canopy of tightly placed flowers were carefully tended in greenhouses and brought into the beautiful, doomed shape of flowers and autumn colors by special chemicals and carefully controlled lighting that the home gardener would simply not be able to duplicate.
It is recommended that these mums be treated like annuals. Warren County is garden zone 5 and garden zone 4. By the time the home gardener is ready to transplant into the garden it is too late in the year to get the plants properly situated before winter weather is here.
The mums come to us pot bound which means mostly roots and very little soil. They would probably have to be divided causing more time in the garden to settle in before cold weather.
Having said all this if you want mums in the garden, purchase cuttings of hardy mums from the garden center in the spring, plant them at that time and bring them through the summer. The beautiful mums of fall in our garden centers are meant as bright colored annuals and should be composted when they fade.
Rebecca Norton Ryan, Penn State Extension Master Gardener, is a member of Warren Garden Club.