What is a perennial? The term "perennial" refers to an herbaceous plant that typically dies back in winter but comes back year after year. Perennials are a great addition to the landscape for a variety of reasons. There are so many varieties to choose from, and there is almost certainly a perennial plant that will solve a garden problem. Some love hot, dry places. Some love damp, shady spots. Some grow tall, some form ground covers. There is likely a perennial that will fit nicely into almost any area of your yard, even a container!
Ever since I was a little kid working here at the garden center, the arrival of the mums meant fall was really here. The smell of the mums as they come off the truck is still one of my favorites, and the bright pops of color throughout the greenhouses are welcome after all of the annuals have faded away.
Three reasons to love hardy mums
- Mums do well in containers. Whether you need to spruce up some tired annual planters on your front porch or need some pops of color for fall entertaining, mums are a great choice.
- Mums bloom when most other stuff is done. While some annuals are still looking good at this point in the season, many have passed their peak bloom times and there's not a whole lot of color left in the garden. A border of hardy mums adds fall interest.
- Hardy mums are perennials. Yep, that's right! Those beauties you buy in the fall can be planted in the ground and will reward you with fall color for years to come. Some simple routine maintenance is all that is required to keep them looking great from year to year. You can even divide them.
Planting and care tips
Hardy mums are perennials, meaning that they will come back year after year. In order to keep them looking their best, follow these simple steps:
- Plant in a sunny location, receiving at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.
- Water regularly until established, making sure leaves do not wilt. Avoid wetting the foliage, as this can promote disease.
- Pinch back growth by about one half every three to four weeks until the Fourth of July. This promotes branching of the stems, which results in more blooms and a more appealing overall shape.
- Divide mums in the spring, just as new green grown begins to emerge.