116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Lisa Slattery shared the following timely information about mums:
As the summer winds down and turns to Fall the beautiful displays of mums start showing up at stores around Eastern Iowa. Mums, formally called chrysanthemums, are one of the best ways to add color to the fall landscape. Mums are available in a wide variety of shapes, colors and sizes.
The most popular mums are pompom or cushion mums and have full fragrant flowers. These are the ones that you see most readily available and showcase bigger flower heads. There are some mums that are single petal flowers; these are the ones that look like yellow daisies – also a great addition to any garden or entryway.
Since mums are a fall flower they come in many traditional fall colors like yellow, orange, gold, maroon and burgundy. My favorites are the creamy white ones, and gold ones. You'll also find pink and lavender mums.
According to Iowa State - twenty years ago mums were generally a one- to two-foot tall plant. But today there are many different cultivars including dwarf varieties and some that grow to be rather big shrubs.
One of the ongoing issues with these beauties here in Iowa is cold hardiness. Several varieties of Mums are notorious for not overwintering here. That's why many mums are treated as late season annuals, plant them for fall and when winter arrives add them to the compost pile.
But if you want perennial mums, there are hardy cultivars available. Look for cultivars that say “garden” or ‘hardy” mum and even look for cultivars bred in Minnesota with plant names that start with “Minn” or the shrub-type labeled “Maxi Mum” – they have a better chance to survive our Iowa winters.
If you're planning on adding mums to the permanent landscape plant them in a sunny, well-drained location. For the first year or two, mulch heavily with 4-inches of mulch and don't cut the plants back in the fall. Wait until early spring to remove or clean up the old stems. If you plan to display mums in a container and then plop them into the ground in late fall they probably won't survive – so if it's container plantings you're after, just enjoy them this fall.
For hardy (or perennial) mums, don't forget to pinch them back in early summer. It promotes branching and more blooms in the fall. Mums like regular fertilizer as well early in the growing season. By late summer, don't fertilize – it tells the plant to bloom and prepare for winter.