Chrysanthemums, commonly known as mums, are a fall-flowering perennial that come in many delightful colors to brighten your fall garden as well as your home. A combination of early, mid-season and late blooming mums will provide color from mid-August to early November and are long-lived if properly cared for.

Mums can also be treated as annuals, easily replaced as flowers fade with later blooming varieties, and removed from the garden at the end of the season each year.

Light: Full sun preferred.

Size: 12-24". Space 24" apart, if you do not plan on removing them at the end of the season.

Water: Keep plants uniformly moist; do not allow them to dry out. Plant in well-drained soil. Mums do not like wet feet.

Time of bloom: Mid-August through early November.

Planting: Space 18-24" apart. Dig a hole a little larger than the container. Mix soil with Leafgro. Place plant in hole so that the soil ball is slightly above ground level. Water thoroughly. Add mulch to a depth of 2", being careful not to mulch into the crown of the plant.

Winter Care: After plant turns brown, trim back to 3" and cover with 3-4" of mulch, straw, or even Christmas tree branches. The idea is to keep the mums at an even, cold temperature so that they don't heave from the frost. Leave the mums covered until mid-March, or about when the crocuses bloom.

Spring Care: After uncovering, trim back dead stems to the ground. Feed mums every two weeks with Miracle Gro, beginning May 1. To attain full, bushy plants, pinch plants in half when they reach 6" in the spring. Every two weeks after that, pinch back half the new growth that has appeared since your last pinch. Continue pinching until July 15. Your mums will bloom approximately six weeks after the last pinch.

Mum plants can be divided every other year. In the spring, divide the plant, making sure each clump has 2-3 shoots per plant. Fertilize and pinch back new growth as directed above under Spring Care.

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