Like chrysanthemums? Well,, this is your moment.
Offered in a fantastic range of light-to-dark autumn hues, chrysanthemums, or mums, seem to be everywhere these days from grocery stores to garden centers. Nurtured to perfection while the rest of us were lazing around during the hot months, these potted plants possess not just beauty but real usefulness.
For example, you probably have seen many decorating front porches where they provide a seasonal air and complement the slowly turning foliage of the trees. What could be easier?
But they also have a place indoors where their size is typically just right for a table. However, rooms are warm, 70 degrees or thereabout, which is warm for flowers.
Where possible move the plant to a cool, unheated sun room or enclosed porch at night. If you are planning to make it the star of a party in a few days, keep it as cool as possible even in the daytime. As an experiment, I kept a small potted mum in my unheated sun room in the winter and it lasted for almost six weeks. The temperature ranged from a low of 50 at night and into the 60s in the daytime. It was fun to watch those flowers last so long, with intermittent trips back to the living room to show off.
Besides a cool temperature, consistent watering is essential. Growers pushed these plants to maximum root production which means the pot is full of roots. That means less space for soil to hold water. Watering every other day will probably keep the plant from wilting.
Inevitably, the flowers fade and the plant’s seasonal beauty is over. Rather than throw it away, turn it into a garden flower. Cut back all the spent stems, but leave the foliage intact as much as possible.
Find an empty spot in your flower beds, then take the plant out of its pot. The roots will be tightly wound, so try to pull some of these roots away from others. This will allow them to grow into the soil faster.
Replanting the mum in November or December is preferable to letting it sit outdoors in the pot until spring. However, the flower that result in the garden are unlikely to be as big as the ones you bought since those had been disbudded and treated to produce maximum size. They should still be pretty and are definitely worth saving.