After reading about heirloom mums on Floret Flowers and Love -n- Fresh Flowers blogs in 2013, I was excited to try these beautiful flowers in the garden. Unfortunately in 2014, there was a catastrophic failure with the mums at King’s Mums and I had to put it on hold for a year. Under new ownership after the original owners retired, the company came back this year and I was thrilled to get my starter plants in the mail this spring. The prices are phenomenal for such a unique plant in the garden.
Mums begin to flower in October to November. This is perfect timing as the dahlias are just starting to die out and there is not a lot of color in the garden from the summer flowers. Throughout the summer they fade into the garden with their green leaves, but as fall approaches, they get ready to put on their show. This is a fabulous way to continue to have flowers through Thanksgiving. We had temperatures that dropped to 30 a few nights, but the mums were unscathed.
The first to bloom for me was this beauty — Seaton’s Toffee.
The flowers are very versatile in that they can be used with the bud closed as below or open as above. The color just glows. This plant has fewer blossoms on it than some of the others, but one goes a long way in an arrangement.
I love the impact just one of this style of mum has in the below arrangement. Complimenting it is a smaller mum called Pink Fleece. This is a shorter plant that puts out tons of blooms. They have such a cool texture to them.
It started blooming early October and is still going. I plan to use this for flowers as well as a for fall color in the garden. This style of mum (anemone) is lower growing and could easily take the place of your front of the bed flowers within the garden. A great burst of color when so much else has gone dormant in the garden.
Next up, what is being called the Cafe Au Lait of mums, Seatons J’Adore. Closed or opened, this one is stunning. This plant also didn’t produce as many flowers, but puts out big clusters of flowers that have a good vase life and are good out of water in arrangements for weddings/crowns.
This was about the third to start blooming mid late October.
Next, is Honeyglow. This is a great orange mum for the fall season.
This next beauty, I think is Ft. Vancouver. I love how it is stunning even as a closed bud. More of Honeyglow showing behind it. It also doesn’t have a large amount of flowers, but the ones it has are large. Like Seaton’s Toffee, it has almost a metallic look to it.
Lastly, is Seaton’s Ruby, this one is prolific. It is quite tall and needs a lot of staking as it has buds galore. Although I love the style of this mum, the color really isn’t my thing. Its kind of a tomato-ey orange-red that is not really in my palette. Its a very traditional fall color.
One of the many other perks of mums is their fantastic arrangement life. They last much longer than dahlias, and keep in a vase almost 1-1/2 weeks without losing the beauty. Once the bud formed, my plants really liked quite a bit of water, so I would be sure and water them well in September leading up to the fall rains. It should also be noted, we had a drought in North Carolina this summer and although I tried to keep these watered with all my other plants, I did not go out of my way to baby them. I wonder how much more they would have produced had it not been such a harsh season. I also did not follow a strict fertilizing program. They only received the organic food I used on the roses nearby. Once the buds did form I started using a 0-10-10 food on them each week.
As a final note, mums really need some substantial staking once the blossoms are forming. The weight of the flowers, along with the common rainfall in the fall months, will make them fall over and break. So, stake or net them well.
The Kings Mum’s site recommends, digging up plants and storing in areas with a hard freeze and cold winters. They mention potting them up and putting them in a basement or cold frame to protect them. Where winters are warm they say to cover with manure and hay to protect them. I think I might try overwintering mine in the ground this year (along with the dahlias) and see how they do. I had no idea how tall they would get, so next year, I will probably move them to their own bed elsewhere in the garden.
Source for all mums: Kings Mums
UPDATE: To read more about my second year growing mums, check out this post.