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Growing container mums for Fall cheer

Filed Under: seasonal, gardening and plants

Put on a happy face this Fall: plant container mums by your front door! The chrysanthemum is an inexpensive yet high-impact plant that will provide a colorful focal point for your home. Its cheerful, compact blooms look good in any context, while the myriad rustic shades of brown, red, orange, and yellow are perfect for autumn.

Here are a few tips for success with container mums this Fall.

First, consider impact. One lonely pot of mums does not look good unless your home or apartment is right up close to the street, in which case you might be able to get away with it. A much better strategy is to mass at least three plants in separate pots. Place them in a casual-looking cluster or in a row descending your front steps. Another option is to plant several chrysanthemums in one large pot.

Second, my favorite part: shopping! Get the healthiest plants you can find with strong-looking foliage and plenty of buds. Check the roots before you buy and avoid those that have become root-bound. Root-bound plants can do okay when repotted, but I would not pay full price for plants in such condition. The big box hardware stores have -- as always -- the best prices, but small, locally-owned nurseries usually tend their plants with a whole lot more love and knowledge.

Third tip: don't neglect your mums. Keep them moist and don't ever let them dry out completely. However, be careful not to overwater, either. If you've had trouble keeping container plants alive in the past, remember that plant care need not be a whole lot of work -- it's just a matter of keeping an eye of them daily. If you're pressed for time, fill an empty soda bottle or gallon jug with water and keep it nearby so you can water when it's required without having to search for your watering can. This was always my big problem in the past: I'd run off to get the watering can and, while doing that, get distracted and forget about the task at hand.

Read more suggestions for container gardening with mums at GardenGuides. Professional chrysanthemum growers, King's Mums, also have a page of useful mum-growing advice. Finally, don't forget: dried mums look great indoors as Fall-themed decorative accents, too!


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