Tip 3: Keep your chrysanthemum display simple and choose no more than two or three complementary colors. This will look better than a variety of colors. Some places are now selling complementary colored plants in the same pot. Also remember that darker colors are more forgiving when flowers start to fade and brown -- they will look better a little longer than light colors.
Tip 4: As flowers fade, keep them pinched off. This will make the plant look nicer longer and can help keep existing blooms fresher longer.
Tip 5: Yes, they need water. If you plant them in the ground, they will need more water than you think since their roots aren't fully developed. If you keep them in pots, remember that pots dry pretty quickly. The smaller the pot, the quicker it dries out.
Most of the mums you will find are labeled "hardy," which is technically true. The mums you find in the autumn are hybrids that are supposed to be hardy and live as perennials in the garden. However, these flowers have been bred and babied to give such a knockout show in one season, it is often difficult to get them to overwinter.
While it may be a long shot, if you want to try it you will need to buy and plant the flowers as early as possible in the season. I would also suggest that you remove many of the buds before they bloom to save more energy for the roots to develop. You also need to remove any spent blossoms as soon as they begin to fade.
I would also fertilize with a "starter" fertilizer that has a good amount of potassium and phosphorous in it. If you are serious about incorporating perennial mums into the garden, you would have better luck by finding a nursery that carries perennial mums for spring planting.
Garden with Master Gardeners
The Kanawha County Extension Master Gardeners are organizing a day of service for the Governor's Day of Service on Sept. 14. The Master Gardeners are inviting the public to join them in beautification projects at the Kanawha-Charleston Humane Society's Animal Shelter.
There will be a variety of projects for people of all levels of ability; individuals, community and youth organizations are encouraged to join in the fun. This will be a great opportunity to give back to the community and learn to garden with the Master Gardeners. Opportunities will be available from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information or to RSVP for yourself or your group, contact me at 304-720-9573.
John Porter is the WVU Extension Service agent for agriculture and natural resources in Kanawha County. He may be reached at john.por...@mail.wvu.edu or at 304-720-9573. Twitter: @WVgardenguru.