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Old 09-07-2008, 08:17 AM
 
866 posts, read 2,748,436 times
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Default How to keep mum plants alive through the winter

I have always bought mums this time of year, fall being one of my favorite seasons. But every single plant I buy every fall dies through the winter. I have heard that some colors do better than others and that for some reason that mums have turned in annuals now. Can mums go through the midwest (Michigan) winter anymore? And is there any special things that I can do to make them survive??

Thanks for any comments in advance I am getting tired of spending $60 each year and they only last a couple months.
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Old 09-07-2008, 09:27 AM
 
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I'm curious about this, too. I bought four big beautiful mums last fall and planted them up close to the east side of the house. Two came back this spring in a big way, and are currently HUGE and covered with buds getting close to blooming. A third sort of survived, but looks pretty sad compared to its siblings. And a fourth never returned at all.

We had a really snowy winter in Wisconsin last year, and I don't know whether to think that the mounds of snow might have insulated the plants from the cold, or if it was the snow that killed the one and a half that didn't make it. Do any experts recommend mulching mums before the snow starts?
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Old 09-07-2008, 02:36 PM
 
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Many mums that you get in the fall have been greenhouse grown, quickly and often are not the hardiest of varieties. I get the feeling it is assumed they are being used as temporary decoration. If they are planted right away, not left above ground in pots they will often have a chance to grow enough roots to overwinter. Mums grown from pots bought in the spring usually do better because they have a deeper root system in place.

Most mums will do best with a mulch that sticks overwinter. I would always bunch the last raked leaves around mine when living in NY ( more or less zone 5b/6a) and leave the plant NOT cut back (the stalks actually hold the mulch against winds). If you get snow cover that sticks around you may not need as much mulch. I found that there were many winters where we either did not get a snow that stayed or we got several thaw and freeze cycles and I lost new mums. With protection you may get some of your mums to make it. A southern exposure usually is better as well, but not a guarantee. If nothing else weakens them the following year (like deer) they should overwinter better.

Hope this helps a little!
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Old 09-07-2008, 08:47 PM
 
Location: Out there somewhere...
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Growing mums in Michigan: GROWING TIPS, Mums, Chrysanthemums (http://www.kingsmums.com/growinf_info.htm - broken link)
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Old 09-07-2008, 09:22 PM
 
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I have rarely lost a mum through IL winters - these are my tips:

Plant them as early as you can get them - make sure you break up the root ball around the edges, don't just plop them into the ground with that solid hard root ball. Work it into well drained soil. Water them really good and often to get those roots growing under the soil.

When springtime comes, keep checking when you see little green shoots starting to come up, THEN trim off all the dead stuff. Mums are very susceptible to rot and if you leave all that stuff on there it will suffocate that new growth. I have never tried to trim all the brown stuff off before winter... has anyone else?

Anyway - i have a good success rate.
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Old 09-08-2008, 10:54 AM
 
Location: Hartwell--IN THE City of Cincinnati
1,055 posts, read 2,461,621 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gardener34 View Post
I have rarely lost a mum through IL winters - these are my tips:

Plant them as early as you can get them - make sure you break up the root ball around the edges, don't just plop them into the ground with that solid hard root ball. Work it into well drained soil. Water them really good and often to get those roots growing under the soil.

When springtime comes, keep checking when you see little green shoots starting to come up, THEN trim off all the dead stuff. Mums are very susceptible to rot and if you leave all that stuff on there it will suffocate that new growth. I have never tried to trim all the brown stuff off before winter... has anyone else?

Anyway - i have a good success rate.
Gardener34--I agree, do not cut back the mums in the fall, wait until new growth in the spring. Also, find a good quality garden store for your mums..one place here locally sells them every year 3 for $10 but they never come back...now HJ Benken, that place has the BEST mums I ever bought...they come back every year with little to no attention from me.
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Old 09-08-2008, 11:12 AM
 
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Mine always survive the cold winters of Connecticut, and last year I even left a couple in pots until spring before planting. And they came back and are blooming now. I always buy the cheap ones at garden centers and grocery stores. I never cut them in the fall, so maybe that helps? I cut them back in the spring once the new growth begins. And I always plant them in sunny locations, too.
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Old 09-12-2008, 08:53 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis and surrounding suburbs
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Hello from Zone 4 in Minneapolis. I have had great success with mums. I do not know the variety other than it's called "MN hardy mum" and I get it at a local greenhouse. I have one in front of my house that is on it's 4th year. It is ENORMOUS and is West facing and gets a lot of HOT sun all summer long. I will snap a few shots of it when it blooms (probably in a couple more days).

I planted this one in fall of '05 and always cut back dead growth in late fall (November). Then I mulch it heavily and remove the mulch in spring when there is no more risk of frost. I pinch new growth off during the summer to insure a full and non-leggy appearance. It is pink and yellow and it's the only variety I can find that keeps coming back in a BIG way.
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Old 09-12-2008, 09:24 AM
 
Location: NE Florida
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You can also take a pot that is a little larger and turn it upside down over the plant
Putting mulch around the base will also give it some extra insulation
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Old 09-12-2008, 11:09 AM
 
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I've had luck with "cheapies" too.. just get them in the ground asap...I alwasy give them some bone meal in the planting hole.. helps with getting the roots going.. Come to think.. every time I transplant, or divideor put in new plants I do that.. they really seem to like it...Have also used it to work into sick plants to give them a boost
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