See a mum sale? Go ahead and get the mums! Then add these 2 companion plants for drama and height in your landscape.
It seems like every weekend we see school teams holding up signs to hawk colorful, fall-friendly chrysanthemums. Don’t pass them up. Mums look great in the garden and work well indoor and outdoor as early fall decor. They boost curb appeal and are easy to care for. Read on for tips on mums and some other colorful fall plants.
There are more than 160 species of mums. Hardy Mums or Florist’s mums (for Hardiness zones 5-9) are typically the ones you see next to the young smiling faces at the sale table. These mums do well in containers, which makes them popular for fundraising events. Florist’s mums are plantable outside after they’ve bloomed. Indirect but bright light is what these plants prefer. Direct sun will dry out the delicate flowers. Mums also like to sleep! Avoid planting them under artificial street lights outside and make sure they get good stretches of darkness inside.
Things can get chilly at night in the fall, though. Bring potted mums inside from the patio if the overnight temperatures will dip down below 60°F. Perfect sleeping temps for mums hovers around 60-65°F, so consider moving indoor mums out to the patio or garage if the house will be warmer than that overnight.
Usually the mums are already blooming by the sale time. If so, don’t add fertilizer. Keep the soil at a general dampness so the roots remain moist. Enjoy them as they brighten your backyard with fall foliage colors.
Once the blooms wither, you can discard the plant. To plant them to grow again in the spring, you would cut the stems back, space them at least 18 inches-2 feet apart, use compost and mulch and keep an eye on watering and fertilizing them in the spring.
OTHER FALL PLANTS
Purple Fountain Grass is a pretty ornamental grass with fun, fuzzy tails that returns in the warmer Hardiness zones (7-9) but is replanted annually in the cooler zones as a decorative annual. Purple Fountain Grass winters in containers, so can be housed and replanted once the thaw has come. Keep it indoors at about 3 inches high and in moist soil. Sun or not, the grass will happily hang out in a pot until you get it back outside again in the spring. Find it a sunny spot with good drainage and let it do its perfect purple thing. Water it about once a week or so, and throw it some slow-release fertilizer.
American Beautyberry lends another dab of purple in your landscape. American Beautyberry is a very hardy shrub that keeps away mosquitos and is super low maintenance. It can be grown in all but the coldest Hardiness zones (4-9). They can be container plants, border shrubs or ornamentals. They also like moist and rich soil and can thrive in sandy spots and clay. If you’re looking to attract fauna to your flora, deer especially like the shrub’s little purple berries, and they are ever-popular with many different kinds of birds.
FALL ON THE PATIO
Adding some pops of color to the patio is as simple as stopping by the team’s mum sale, or searching a local nursery for some low-maintenance purple plants. Flowers and colors are part of fall’s fun. Put some on the patio and the porch and enjoy them.