How To Fertilize And Care For Fall Garden Mums

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This article provides instructions for how to fertilize and care for perennial garden mums
by Brett · All Zones · Fertilizing · 0 Comments · September 04, 2013 · 6,316 views

When garden mums are cared for properly you can expect to see a long, stunning display of colorful flowers during the fall season. Basically, when growing mums as perennials in your landscape or flower gardens, you'll want to provide them with fertile soil, plenty of sun, and fertilizer. Proper pruning is important as well and I address this in another article titled How to Prune Garden Mums.

Feeding mums...

Feeding When Planting In SPRING
When planting mums in spring, I usually water the plants in with a well-balanced liquid plant food or Root Stimulator to get them off to a good start. I'll also apply a slow-release, granular flower food, such as Dynamite Flower Food.

Feeding When Planting In FALL
When planting mums purchased from nursery and garden centers in fall, I usually don't feed them. Reason being, the growers have fed them throughout the season. All I do is plant them and then give the soil a good soaking.

Feeding Established Mums
I feed established mums with a granular, slow-release flower food in early spring, when new growth begins to emerge from the ground. If the foliage has faded some by late-summer I might provide the plants with another dose of quick-release or liquid plant food. Alternatively, you can feed monthly with a non slow-release granular or liquid fertilizer through mid- to late July.

Buy Garden Mum Food to fertilize your Garden Mums online at Gardener Direct

Culture, Planting & Care Tips

Sun: Mums do their best in sites that provide full to mostly sun. The more shade they get during the day the less flowers there will be in fall. Shade also causes plants to grow too tall and lanky, toppling over from the weight of the flowers. Morning sun is an absolute must as this helps to dry dew from the foliage, which protects the plants from developing foliar diseases. Be sure to plant mums at least 20 feet away from street lights or other night lights. Upsetting the normal hours of darkness will throw the mum off schedule, and it may not flower at the right time if at all.

Soil: Mums, like many other perennials, prefer a well-drained, yet moist soil that is slightly acid. Constantly soggy or wet soil will likely lead to disease that effects flowering and compromises plant health. The ideal soil pH is about 5.8 to 6.8. If you are unsure about the pH of your soil, most nursery and garden centers sell soil testing kits or you can buy a soil testing kit online here. Your local Extension Service might provide soil testing services. At the bottom of this article you'll find a link to an article that provides information about soil pH and how to adjust it.

Planting: When planting mums in heavy clay soil make sure to thoroughly mix in 25 to 50 percent aged organic compost, such as mushroom compost or composted manure products, with the native soil removed from the planting hole. In looser soils add maybe 10 to 20 percent compost. The planting hole should be dug two to three times as wide and no deeper than the rootball. Plant so that the top edge of the rootball is at or slightly above ground level, to allow for settling. A 1- to 2-inch layer of cured, shredded wood mulch or pine straw will help to conserve moisture, keep the soil cooler, and will also decompose into rich organic matter that feeds plants.

Watering: Soak soil well after planting mums and then provide water as necessary to keep soil moist but not wet. Established mums are tolerant of dry spells, so I usually only provide supplemental water - in the form of a deep soaking - when foliage begins to wilt during prolonged periods of dry weather.

Pruning: Mums are fall blooming plants. If allowed to bloom during the heat of the summer the flowers will quickly fade from the heat. To keep mums from blooming too son, I usually pinch the stems back in early- to mid-summer when and if I see flower buds starting to form. Click on the article titled 'How To Prune Garden Mums' in the list just below for detailed pruning instructions.


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