I live in zone 6B near the border of CT and NY. I would like to try growing a mum, but I don't really know where to start. How much space do I need? I could find a square foot or two of space in my sunny beds, and more in shady places. Are there any particularly good cultivars? I would love to use them for cut flowers and the longer the blooming period, the better (heh, I guess we all feel that way about most flowers). I'd rather start off with a seedling than start from seed, when is the best time to get started planting?
Here is a link with information about mum seeds. I am too lazy to grow them from seed and their seeds are outrageously small so, when I once tried, it was difficult to spread them (evenly). The article says you get about 45,000 seeds per ounce of weight so imagine that. I ended with too many plants growing too close together and had a hard time separating them once they got big enough to transfer to a bigger pot.
Hi, Laura - I LOVE mums!! I'm in 5a, so my tips may change a bit for your warmer climate, but generally, here's what I've learned.
To have a hardy mum through at least two years (it is a sensitive perennial here, and only blooms well for me for one year), I plant in early Fall. I change out the mums every other year -- so that first year is to get them established, and they bloom Beautifully the second year.
Plant about 2' apart or more if you'd like mounded mums.
Snip back the foliage through about July 4 to 12-18" tall. After July 4, let grow as the blooms are set.
That's about it -- if you plant in the Fall and water deeply and well through the Fall, they will not need supplemental water the next year. About 1" per week is just fine. Too much water, and they can get leggy.
Here's a few pics of mine -- as you can see, I LOVE the color in the fall.
First, some bright yellow in back, with coleus in between with marigolds in front -
Here's a combo or white and deep gold - these are all garden mums I picked up on sale at a big box store, frankly. I believe Menard's, and they were about $2 apiece. Because they really aren't long-term perennials here, I don't like to spend alot of money.
And here is the street mailbox garden with purples and lavenders, marigolds, sedum, and some fall hardscape --
My biggest break through was when I didn't expect or let them to bloom the first year - snipped off the blooms when they were planted. As you can see, I found that by doing that they were large and healthy that second year. You can't see, but tucked in amongst those mums are small ones that were just planted that year --
The most vigorous hardy perennial chryanthemums I've used here are the Chysanthemum x rubellum forms 'Clara Curtis' and 'Mary Stoker'. The former is more compact and manageable.
Have also got Chrysanthemum x morifolium, as well as the cultivar 'Mei Kyo' (a darkish mauvish pink button-hole form). Latter grows very well, but blooms infuriatingly late (into? November) for mixed perennial beds.
Would say only about one in twenty (+) non-hardy mums lasts from year to year here. It must be that they're in favoured locations and it seems to happen with yellowy-orangy coloured mums.