Mums, short for chrysanthemums, include more than 100 varieties and are native to Asia. These perennial fall blooming flowers come in an array of colors from orange, yellow, red, white, maroon, and purple and grow from 2 to 3 feet tall. Mums are hardy in growing zones 3 to 9 and with proper care will come back year after year to be enjoyed in the home garden.
Grow mums in a location that receives full sun all day in well draining soil. Amend the soil with compost or well-rotted manure before planting for enriched soil that is light and airy.
Water consistently, two to three time daily, to keep soil moist, but not soaking wet. Use a soaker hose or drip irrigation system to avoid getting the foilage wet. Flowers will wilt if they become dry.
Apply a 5-10-10 fertilizer in early spring and again in late summer according to the manufacturer directions. Use a liquid controlled-released fertilizer and water in well after applying.
Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch to help maintain the moisture in the soil and control weeds. Use chopped leaves, grass clippings or compost, all of which will enrich the soil as they break down and work into the soil.
Pinch mums back in late spring to create fuller and more compact plants. When the new spring growth reaches 6 inches tall, pinch back 2 inches of the growth with your fingers. Repeat this again in mid-summer after the plant has grown about 12 inches.
Provide winter protection by cutting the plant back to the ground after it has finished blooming in the late fall. Add a 6- to 8-inch layer of hay or evergreen boughs to protect the roots from cold winter conditions. Remove in early spring when the new growth is beginning to come up.