No flower is more iconic of autumn than the chrysanthemum, and these beautiful mounding perennials are ideal for fall flowerbeds, pots, window boxes, borders, and many other uses. How will
you get creative with chrysanthemums this fall?
Why We Love Chrysanthemums
Just when many other flowers are fading at the end of summer, chrysanthemums, or mums, are coming into their glory with a range of stunning autumn colors. Depending on the cultivar, these plants sport yellow, white, red, orange, bronze, pink, peach, wine, purple, and bicolored blooms. The flowers range from small, button-like blossoms to larger blooms reminiscent of daisies. Mum blooms are long-lasting when cut and they’re just as lovely in floral arrangements and bouquets as they are planted in containers, flowerbeds, and the landscape. This makes mums extremely useful for all manner of autumn décor.
Chrysanthemums are native to east Asia and northern Europe and were first domestically cultivated in China nearly 600 years ago. Today, there are more than 20,000 chrysanthemum cultivars worldwide. They are deer- and rabbit-resistant, making them a hardy option for landscaping beds, and with a bit of thoughtful care, these tender perennials can be a wonderful addition to any flower garden or fall containers.
Caring for Chrysanthemums
The hardiness of chrysanthemums depends on the cultivar as well as the local climate and even the microclimate in your landscape. These flowers prefer well-drained, rich soil with a neutral pH, so it is best to use a good quality potting soil in containers. When planting chrysanthemums in the garden or landscape, mixing compost or peat moss in the planting hole will help increase drainage and nourish the soil to promote the best blooms. A good rule of thumb is that if soil is good for vegetables, it will also be good for mums – making them a wonderful choice to refresh a garden after the summer harvest has finished.
Chrysanthemums grow best in full sun requiring a minimum of six hours per day. If mums are planted in containers, consider using a mobile plant cart or a stand with casters so that the pots may be moved to brighter areas, if needed, as the season progresses.
Chrysanthemums prefer evenly moist, but not soggy, soil. Because of their thick, mounding habit, it is best to water mums from below suing a soaker hose or irrigation drip system in garden beds. In pots, mums should again be watered from below the plant but above the soil line. A watering wand will make this job direct and easy. Be sure to drain excess water from saucers after watering so the roots do not remain continually wet.
Fertilizing chrysanthemums every month through the spring and early summer, with a balanced fertilizer, will help them grow and bloom well, but if mums are planted in the Fall, they should not need extra feeding as long as they were planted in rich, nutritious soil. Deadheading spent blooms by pinching them back can encourage more flowering and help mums maintain their compact, mounding habit.
Decorating with Fall Mums
Chrysanthemums are a beautiful choice not only in the garden, but are equally lovely in welcoming porch pots, deck or patio containers, or even small indoor pots and arrangements. Add an extra touch of fall with rustic containers, such as wine barrels, baskets, or terra cotta pots, or glam up your mums in hammered copper or bronze pots that will accentuate their color. A burlap ribbon or bow can be a charming accent, and you can give more seasonal flair to mum arrangements or flowerbeds by adding pumpkins and gourds as fun decorations. Indoors, use small pails or pots for petit mum arrangements, or add them to larger arrangements with grain sprigs, dried pods, colorful leaves, or twists of grapevine for additional texture.
Fall chrysanthemums can be a pleasant burst of autumn color, whether they are part of the landscape or are used in containers, pots, or arrangements and we carry a wide selection to make your fall home suit the season!
Plant a Tree This Fall
There are so many reasons to add a new tree to your landscape this fall that it’s hard to find a reason not to.
Just think about it, trees will…
- Beautify the Environment
Trees add texture and color to the landscape. They soften the harsh lines of buildings and driveways, while their foliage and blooms add seasonal color changes and variety.
- Stabilize Soil
Tree roots prevent soil from blowing or washing away, minimizing erosion and providing protection for the surrounding landscape.
- Provide Wildlife Habitat
Trees provide shelter and food for birds and numerous small animals, including squirrels, raccoons, insects and more.
- Make Food
Many trees provide fruits, nuts, seeds, sap and berries for human consumption. Wildlife will also rely on the food provided by trees.
- Create Oxygen
Through photosynthesis, trees take in carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and other poisons from our air and release pure oxygen for us to breathe. One tree can produce enough oxygen for 10 humans for one year!
- Filter the Air
Trees act as giant filters trapping dust and pollution particles with their leaves and bark until the rain washes the particles away.
- Cool the Air
Air will remain several degrees cooler in the shade of a tree canopy. This is accomplished by not only by blocking the sun’s rays but also through transpiration. Tree leave transpire, or release moisture, which cools the surrounding air. A large tree can release as much as 400 gallons of moisture from its leaves daily.
- Reduce Utility Bills
Deciduous trees planted on the south and southwest sides of a home will shade the structure during hot summer months and reduce air conditioning or other cooling needs. In the winter, with the leaves fallen, the sun is able to warm the structure, reducing heating bills.
- Reduce Noise Pollution
Strategically planted, trees can dramatically reduce the volume of unwanted noise from loud neighbors, nearby businesses or car traffic.
- Hide undesirable views
Purposefully sited, trees can camouflage unattractive views and create privacy, providing a natural sanctuary in your yard.
In our area, fall is just about the best time of year to purchase and plant a tree. The soil is warm, air temperature is cool and morning and evening dew increase available moisture to nurture a new tree. Stop in and see our extensive collection, and we can assist you in choosing the tree that is perfect for your landscape and lifestyle needs.
Autumn: Why Plant Now?
Although many gardeners plant trees and shrubs in the spring, knowledgeable gardeners plant in the fall to take advantage of all this fabulous season has to offer. But why is fall planting better than spring planting?
- Stress Reduction
Transplanting causes stress as plants are removed from containers, balls or established locations and changed to new locations. Planting in the fall, when a plant is entering dormancy and is generally hardier and sturdier, reduces this stress so the plant can thrive.
- Establishing Strong Roots
Fall planting “establishes” trees and shrubs by encouraging root growth. Because the soil is still warm, the roots continue to develop until freezing, though the upper parts of the plant are already dormant. When transplanting in the spring, the developed roots are active and delicate tips or rootlets, as well as buds and new leaves, are more easily damaged.
- Weather Resiliency
Trees and shrubs planted in the fall are better able to withstand the rigors of the next summer’s heat and dry conditions because they have much longer to develop healthy roots systems and become thoroughly established. This is especially critical in dry climates or areas prone to drought or irregular rainfall.
- Faster Maturity
The “head-start” of fall planting results in a larger plant in less time, helping create a mature landscape without waiting for smaller plants to catch up. This can be especially critical when replacing dead or damaged plants in a mature landscape to avoid a gap or uneven look.
- Water Conservation
Planting in the fall saves watering time and promotes conservation by eliminating daily watering. Cooler temperatures with the addition of both morning and evening dew contribute greatly to soil moisture availability in fall without as much supplemental watering.
- Color Confirmation
Fall is the best time to see a plant’s autumnal color. Planting in the fall eliminates the surprise of the wrong color or unexpected shades that may not coordinate with nearby plants. By planting in autumn, you’ll know exactly what you’re purchasing and planting, and you will be able to match better with your existing landscape.
- Saving Money
Last but definitely not least, buying your beautiful trees and shrubs in autumn can save big money. We discount prices on trees and shrubs to create room for holiday season materials and pass the savings on to you. Selection may be more limited later in fall, however, so don’t wait too long to take advantage of great savings.
Autumn can be the ideal time to plant trees and shrubs, whether you are adding to your landscape, replacing plants or starting a whole new look. If you plant in autumn, you’ll be amazed at how lovely your landscape will look next spring.
Fall Gardener’s Calendar
Spray Bonide All-Season Spray on hemlocks to control woolly adelgid.
Spruce up the landscape by planting Fall Pansies, Flowering Cabbage & Kale, Garden Mums, Fall-Blooming Perennials as well as Trees and Shrubs.
Test your lawn pH to determine if you need to apply lime this season. A 5o lb. bag of Lime will raise the pH about a half a point per 1000 square feet of turf.
Pick up your Spring Flowering Bulbs like tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinths, snowdrops and more! An Auger for the drill will also help make planting easier.
Plant cool-season salad greens (arugula, corn salad, lettuce, radishes and spinach) in cold frames.
Apply Superphosphate now to coax stubborn plants into bloom next year.
Aerate, re-seed and apply Fall Lawn Food to the lawn. Keep grass seed damp; water every day if necessary. You will also want to check for grubs. Increased activities of skunks, raccoons and moles as well as brown patches that peel back easily are an indication of grub activity. Apply granular Sevin to control the grubs as well as chinch bugs and sod webworm.
Treat houseplants with Systemic Granules and Concern Insect Killing Soap now to get rid of any insects before bringing them into the house prior to the first frost.
Clean out garden ponds and pools. Cover with Pond Netting before the leaves start falling.
Plant bulbs. Fertilize with Espoma Bulb-Tone and water in well.
Divide daylilies and spring-blooming perennials, including iris and peonies. Don’t be tempted to prune your spring flowering shrubs like forsythia, azaleas, camellia, holly, lilac, rhododendron, spirea or viburnum or you will destroy next year’s buds.
Rake leaves from the lawn and lower the mower blade. Check your compost pile. Now is a good time to add Concern Bio Activator to help break down brown leaves and lawn clippings.
Dig up summer-flowering bulbs, such as dahlias, cannas, tuberous begonias, caladiums and gladiolus after the frost kills the top growth. Treat them with Bulb Dust, pack them in Peat Moss, and store them in a ventilated area for winter.
Fertilize your trees with Jobes Tree Spikes after the leaves fall. Fertilize azaleas, rhododendron, and evergreens with Holly-Tone and other shrubs with Plant-Tone. Spray hemlock again with Bonide All-Season Spray Oil.
Set up bird feeders. Clean out birdbaths, refill and purchase heaters for the winter.
Clean up and destroy diseased rose leaves and debris surrounding shrubs and perennials. Mound 10-12 inches of dirt around roses to protect from winter damage. After the ground freezes, cover roses with mulch or straw.
Remove annuals, roots and all, and add to your compost pile, but do not add any diseased material to it.
Cut back perennials unless they feature ornamental seed heads and Fertilize with 5-10-5. Prune long raspberry and rose canes back to a height of three feet. Clean up your beds and gardens to avoid harboring insects and diseases over the winter.
Pot hardy spring bulbs (anemone, crocus, daffodil, hyacinth, ranunculus and tulip) and place in a cold frame or cool garage (40 degrees) or sink into the ground and mulch. Keep evenly moist.
Update garden records, noting successes and failures, gaps in planting, future planting and landscape changes.
Water all landscape plants well and mulch before the winter cold sets in.
Spray evergreens, azaleas, rhododendron, boxwood and rose canes with Wilt Pruf for protection against wind and cold weather.
Tulips: Spring Starts Now!
Members of the lily family, tulips are native to central and western Asia. In the 16th century, they were introduced to the Netherlands where most tulip bulbs are grown today. With over 100 species and nearly 3,000 varieties, tulips have been divided into 14 groups, including Darwin hybrids, Triumph, Lily-flowering, Double early, Rembrandt, Scheepers’ Hybrids (or French) and Parrot variations. Their classification is based on form and habit. A 15th group includes species tulips with the smallest plants growing to just 3 inches.
Tips for Planting Tulips
Tulips are an easy care addition to any landscape, and they are easier to plant than many gardeners realize.
- Choose only top-sized bulbs without any bruises or obvious damage. Bigger bulbs generally indicate better quality and bigger flowers.
- Plant bulbs as soon as purchased or store in a cool, dry location.
- Choose a sunny (or part sun) location with well-drained, rich soil.
- Plant 2” deeper than recommended to promote re-blooming each year.
- Apply bone meal 3 times a year – in fall when you plant, in spring as bulbs emerge from the ground and after flowering has finished. This will provide food for the foliage and bulb growth for next year’s flowers.
- Protect tulip bulbs from pest damage by laying wire mesh on top of your bed just beneath the soil. Sprinkling VoleBlok in the holes when planting can also be helpful.
- Mulch and water the bed thoroughly after planting.
- Plant before the ground freezes.
- Deadhead flowers after they have faded, but leave the foliage to die back naturally. Do not cut off the leaves until they have turned brown, or else they will not develop large enough bulbs for a good show the next year.
Tulip Timesaving Tip
Don’t have much time to plant a large, luxurious tulip bed? Plant 100 tulips in just 1 hour!
- Choose a part to full sun location and dig a hole 6’ x 6’ to a depth of 6-8”, placing the displaced soil on plywood or cardboard.
- Place 100 tulips, pointed end up, evenly over the area.
- Gently slide the soil from the plywood or cardboard onto the tulip bulbs. Tamp the soil lightly, sprinkle the bed with bone meal and water well. In spring, the entire area will bloom!
Tried & True Tulip Selections
Some tulips can be finicky, and while some tulips will disappear from your garden after a year or two, these selections promise trouble-free blooms for years!
- ‘Daydream’ – Darwin tulip, changing colors while in bloom to vibrant apricot-orange, blooms mid-April into May, Ht: 22”. Fragrant.
- ‘Lilac Wonder’ – Species tulip, large rose-lilac flowers with yellow bases and anthers, blooms May, Ht: 7”. Prefers full sun.
- T. praestans ‘Fusilier’ – Multi-flowering species tulip, orange-scarlet flowers, blooms April, Ht: 8-12”.
- T. clusiana var. chrysantha – Species tulip, good naturalizing tetraploid, deep yellow flushed with rose toward the edges, blooms April, Ht: 8”.
- ‘Pink Impression’ – Darwin tulip, huge flower with strong, clear pink flowers, blooms mid-April to May, Ht: 22”.
- ‘Menton’ – Scheepers’ hybrid, blooms are shades of apricot, rose, pink and peach, late-blooming, Ht: 26”.
- ‘Mrs. John T. Scheepers’ – Huge Scheepers’ hybrid, golden-yellow tetraploid is a three-time award winner, late-blooming, Ht: 26”.
- ‘Persian Pearl’ – Species tulip, deep magenta-rose with buttercup yellow star on the inside, blooms April, Ht: 6”.
- ‘Maureen’ – Scheepers’ offspring, large, oval-shaped flowers of glistening white, blooms late-May, Ht: 28”. Four-time award winner!
- ‘La Courtine’ – A Scheepers hybrid, yellow flowers are oval-shaped, flamed with red from the bottom up, late-blooming, Ht: 26”.
With so many to choose from, it’s always time for tulips!