It’s time for garden mums

Richard Bogren, Gill, Daniel J., Huffstickler, Kyle, Owings, Allen D.

Garden mums are popular cool-season landscape plants that can be perennial if cared for properly. (Click on photo for downloadable image.)

News Release Distributed 10/01/10

By LSU AgCenter Horticulturists Dan Gill, Kyle Huffstickler and Allen Owings

With fall here, along with football season, garden mums become one of the popular plants available for home landscape use. Garden mums fill the gap between the end of warm-season bedding plant season and the true beginning of cool-season bedding plants.

You may want to try them in a landscape bed combined with the low-growing Wave series of petunias or French varieties of dwarf marigolds.

Mums provide cool-season color from September through early November most years. When purchasing garden mums, select top-quality plants and varieties that will bloom early, mid and late in the season. Flower colors are abundant in garden mums. Yellow, pink, white, bronze, lavender, purple and others are available. Two-toned bicolor flowers have been introduced recently.

Garden mums perform well in full to partial sun – 6 hours of direct sun is ideal. Be sure to properly prepare a landscape bed by improving aeration and internal drainage with additions of pine bark or some other form of organic matter. Select a site protected from northern and windy exposures. Provide about 2 feet between plants – close spacing results in leggy, upright growth. After planting, apply about 3 pounds of a slow-release fertilizer per 100 square feet of bed area. Broadcast the fertilizer uniformly over the entire bed, and lightly water it in. Mulch with a 1-inch layer of pine bark, shredded pine straw or a similar material.

Because fall typically is dry in Louisiana, be aware that lack of water on garden mums delays flowering, slows or stops growth and increases susceptibility to pests. Proper moisture leads to success. It’s imperative to avoid overhead irrigation and to water only the bed area or around the drip line of each plant. Soaking garden mums at the base of each plant may cause stem rot.

To maintain garden mums as perennial plants once they have been properly planted, follow these steps – keep the soil moist (not wet) through winter, prune lightly several times between March and June, continue mulching, maintain good insect and disease management, and lightly fertilize in spring with a slow-release fertilizer. Garden mums will bloom according to natural daylength conditions again next year.

Visit LaHouse in Baton Rouge to see sustainable landscape practices in action. The home and landscape resource center is near the intersection of Burbank Drive and Nicholson Drive (Louisiana Highway 30) in Baton Rouge, across the street from the LSU baseball stadium. For more information, go to www.lsuagcenter.com/lahouse and www.lsuagcenter.com/lyn.

Rick Bogren
1/4/2011 1:13:48 AM
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