With fall approaching, it only seems appropriate to begin adding elements of fall foliage and decor to your outdoor landscape. One of the most popular options is the mum. But somehow these fall favorites tend to be a one-hit wonder that seem to last just a bit longer than a cup of coffee.
Watkins Nursery greenhouse worker, Tammy Ray, recently offered some tips on how to prolong the life of mums, as well as some other colorful options with a little more longevity.
Mum selection and maintenance
According to Ray, the best time to start purchasing mums is mid to late September so that they will last throughout the month of October.
When most people select mums, they tend to be drawn to the most colorful plants with the most plentiful blooms. Ray suggests choosing a plant that has plenty of unopened buds. The color of the plant can still be determined, but the more buds that are present, the longer the mum should last. The cool evening weather of the fall season will help the buds to open up and bloom.
Ray said mums have become so popular in fall decor that it is not uncommon to see a mum pot sitting on top of a hay bale. Because mums stay in bloom and still look pretty when their roots are dry, most people do not realize that they require water, at least once a day, in order to thrive. Although potted mums are a beautiful accent piece, they do best when planted in the ground and allowed to establish their roots.
Pansies provide color for two seasons
“When people think fall, they think mums,” Ray said. “I think mums, pumpkins and apples scream fall — but don’t forget about the pansies.”
Ray said increasingly more plant-lovers are transitioning from mums to pansies in the fall and winter months because pansies will provide blooms in the fall and into the spring. With so many varieties of colors, pansies can draw extra attention to a fall landscape.
While they can be made into a potted arrangement, like mums, pansies tend to thrive when planted in the ground and should survive the winter to perk up in the spring.
“Most people think you plant pansies in the spring,” Ray said. “They actually prefer cooler weather. The best time to plant them is in the fall so they will last through the winter and grow in the spring.”
Watkins Nursery is a family owned and operated nursery that is located at 1224 Goetz Dr. in Owensboro, (270) 683-5672. They are open Mon. – Fri. 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sat. 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. and closed on Sunday.