Tucker's Plant of the Month: Dendranthema (Garden Chrysanthemum)
First of all, Happy Halloween everyone!
The Garden Chrysanthemum is the most common and popular fall annual. How can you not love the bold yellow, orange, red, burgundy, pink, and white flower color of the Garden Chrysanthemum. While Chrysanthemums are a popular annual, they can be treated as a perennial if the right variety is purchased. Special treatment is needed to help Garden Chrysanthemums survive the winter. Make sure to cut the stems down just like you would for any of your other perennials, typically to four inches in height. Then place mulch over the remaining stems to provide additional protection from the cold winter temperatures and frost.
There are three types of Garden Chrysanthemums all varying in heights, but the familiar variety found in garden centers is only about one and half foot tall consisting of a neat mounded habit. The Garden Mum can flower from August to November. The Mums do tend to dry out fast especially when planted as annuals, so make sure consistent water is provided to prolong the blooming period.
Garden Chrysanthemums can require quite a bit of maintenance if a compact perennial look is desired. The buds must be pinched off regularly from early spring to mid summer in order to maintain the iconic mounded habit. I do not have perennial Chrysanthemums in my yard because my mom says they require too much maintenance. She likes to plant them as annuals in containers on our front porch. They go well with other fall annuals such as Millet, Kale, Cabbage, Ornamental Peppers, Cold Hardy Pansy, and Swiss Chard. I bet I could bite off the new growth of the Mums and impress Mom on my pruning skills. Certain cultivars of Mums are known for their nutritional values and Mums were originally grown and harvested for human consumption of the roots and foliage.
So while you are trick or treating today you can impress your friends and family with your knowledge on Mums as you enjoy all the beautiful fall colors.
Be safe and as always have fun gardening!