16September 27, 2017

I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting hot and humid weather in late September. I have a feeling that our plants weren’t expecting it either. Time to get the hose out and water the plants.

A customer came into the store the other day and she was commenting that her hardy mums never seem to come back the following year. She also said that the mum flowers that were open didn’t last too long and that once those flowers went by, the plant was just green leaves. I asked her a few questions about how she cared for the hardy mum and then came up with the solution that should make the hardy mums truly hardy.

If you want the hardy mums to come back next year, you need to get them out of the pots and into the ground. Hardy mums are perennial. Just like any other perennial they need to have time to develop a root system in the ground before winter sets in. The mistake people make is that they set the mums in the pots on the steps or somewhere else in the yard and the mums remain there until the plant looks a bit sad. The plant winds up in the ground in early November. This doesn’t give the plant time to get its roots out into the soil. With dead or half dead leaves, the plant can’t make the food it needs to help in the development of the roots system that will help the plant to survive. If you want those hardy mums to come back next year, you need to get them out of the pots as soon as you buy them and get the plants into the ground.

The second part of the question concerns the lack of flowers later into the season. There are some early blooming mums that are almost done flowering by now. When you buy your hardy mums, look into the center of the plants and see if you find tiny flower buds. If you see these unopened buds, then you will have flowers coming along for a longer period of time. As is the case with most things in life, there is a catch. You have to keep the mums watered and you have to fertilize the plants. Hardy mums need consistently moist soil to keep the leaves, flowers and buds going strong. The leaves and the buds also need fertilizer to keep them growing. If you keep up with fertilizing your mums every 7 to 10 days, the small buds will mature into full size flowers. The fertilizer will also help the plant leaves to look their best. With the heat that we had this week, you will have to water the plants each day or even twice a day if the pots are in a sunny and or windy area.

Hardy mums can be a beautiful fall flower that blooms for a long period of time if you take proper care of the plants. If you don’t keep up with adequate water and regular applications of fertilizer, they are going to be a disappointment to you.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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