Flowers and mums give your landscape a blast of color. Different flowers bloom at different times. Annuals are bright and beautiful for one season then die off. Perennials give you lasting color year after year, but tend to have more foliage than blooms. Mums are a great flower because they bloom late in the season, giving you a gorgeous show in the fall. They come in many colors like gold, maroon, yellow, purple and white.
Make sure the planting area is in the full sun for three hours a day, at a minimum. Mums thrive in those conditions. The sun will make the plant bushier and help create more blooms.
Plant mums in well-drained soil. They do well in slightly acidic soil. Add compost to the soil to make it more fertile, if needed. Put down 1 inch of organic matter and mix it with a pitchfork.
Put garden fertilizer in the soil when you're putting the mums in the ground or right after. Use one with a nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium ratio of 5-10-5.
Plant a hole that is slightly wider than the nursery container the mum came in. Place the mum in the center and refill with soil. Tamp it down to remove air pockets.
Water the mum right away to help it get settled in. After that, give it 1 inch of water per week. As the plants get bigger, you should water it more. Once the blooming time hits in the fall, give the mums water three times a week.
Pinch 1 inch from the top of each stem at the beginning of the season when the plants are smaller in size. This pruning will help the plant develop side branches, which will make it bushier in shape. Pinch off stems until the beginning of August.
Apply a water-soluble fertilizer to the mum once or twice in the summer. Once the mums are 1 year old, give them food monthly through the season.
Choose a site that matches the flowers' sunlight requirements. Most perennials want full sun, which means at least six hours of sunlight daily. Read the instructions to determine sunlight requirements for annuals. Some want full sun, whereas some do well with just two to three hours per day. These shade plants include hostas, columbine and foxglove.
Add compost to the garden to make the ground more fertile; 1 inch should be sufficient. Mix it in thoroughly.
Remove the flowers from their nursery containers. If they are pot bound and the roots are in a mass, cut the pot away, being careful not to cut the roots. Separate them as best you can by hand.
Space out the holes for the optimal color display. If the tag says 4 to 6 inches apart, plant the flowers 4 inches apart so they fill in quickly.
Dig the holes slightly wider than the nursery container. Put the flowers in the middle and fill them back up with the removed soil. Press down.
Water the plants right away to stimulate root growth. Annuals in particular need water so give them a deep watering two to three times a week.
Give flowers a balanced fertilizer to keep them blooming. Apply a food that has a ratio of 20-20-20 once a week. Follow the application instructions on the label.
About this Author
Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than 10 years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.