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Can Mums be a Perennial in the South?

Mums: An annual or a perennial?
I always considered fall mums to be an annual. Here in the south, I’m used to seeing porches lined with containers of various colored mums each autumn. I typically tossed mine in the compost after they got hit with the first frost. Read on to learn about how to enjoy your mums year after year.
After my late October wedding four years ago, I found myself with a bunch of leftover pumpkins and purple mums. A friend of mine told me to plant them. Although I was skeptical about the outcome, I tried planting them in November. I tucked them into open pockets in my perennial beds and crossed my fingers. I always thought that most chrysanthemums should be planted in the spring to survive the winter and that potted mums won’t survive the cold temperatures. Contrary to my instinct, most of my potted fall mums have come back every year.

Over the past four years, my purple mums bloom multiple times during the summer and fall. In the autumn, I particularly like my fuchsia-colored mums in combination with my Muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris), Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, and Loropetalum ‘Ruby’. This year, I have some late-blooming Echinacea purpurea as well. The mums’ color really pops in a fall garden, especially against an evergreen backdrop or alongside ornamental grasses.

If you find yourself with a porch full of mums that are done blooming for the season, try planting them in the ground with plenty of mulch. Just deadhead the spent blooms and look for green foliage in the spring. Down in the south, there is a good chance that your typical decorative potted mums will be a perennial.

Interested in adding mums or other plants with great fall interest to your garden? Contact Bright Leaf Landscaping at 919-475-1015 or fill out our online contact form. Design and installation are our expertise, and we are always happy to meet with new clients to discuss potential projects!