I'm never planting mums again. I mean it. I've been burned for the last time. Last fall, I bought at least a dozen hardy mums and not one, NOT ONE, made it through the winter. I was more than a little irritated.
There are florist mums, garden mums and hardy mums and I know the difference. Those charming ones you see in the grocery stores that make you stop and say, "Oh wow, how cool is that?" are indeed cool, but they don't like cold. Enjoy them as long as you can keep them alive in above-freezing temperatures, because they won't survive the winter outside. Not here in zone 5 anyway.
Cool Florist Mums -->
But those garden mums that are all over the place now? They're hardy. Yeah, right. Don't bet on it. I've had mums over the years that did last through the winters. I removed them several years ago because they were bright yellow and I don't like yellow mums. I still don't like yellow mums, but if I hadn't taken them out, at least I'd still have some.
Word on the street is that the new 'garden' mums we're seeing in the garden centers are not being bred by the hybridizers to be hardy in gardens colder than zone 6. Why didn't I hear about this last year when I was buying all of them? Some of the nurseries that sell them are no longer guaranteeing them to be hardy either. At least they're being honest about them.
So consider yourself warned. If you still want to have perennial mums, try to get the heirloom varieties or ones that you know are bred for cold climates, like the Belgian mums. If all else fails, beg them from your friends that have had them for years. Me? I'm planting asters.
Hardy asters really are. No, there isn't the color choice like there is with mums, but there are still some pretty gorgeous hues out there. Right now I've only got two asters. One, I purchased many years ago and it has grown a lot from that teeny 4-inch pot size to a nice-sized two-foot clump now. I've even moved it a couple of times.
I just bought my second one last week. I got it at Walmart for ten dollars and though it's one plant, it's HUGE. It's a lighter shade of lavender than the purple one I already have and it absolutely pops against the dark foliage of its bedmates. I rather doubt if I'll buy any more this fall, because last year I self-imposed a rule to not plant anything after the end of September. That way I don't risk cold weather zapping my new perennials before they've had a chance to get well-established before winter. I'm not taking any chances.
But next year, I'll be looking for some white asters, and maybe some pink ones, although I haven't yet seen a shade of pink in asters that I like. I hear there are reds, and since that's my favorite color, if I come across any of those, I'll have them.
So, farewell to mums. It was nice knowing you. Too bad you didn't feel the same about me.
I lost these two winters ago, too.
I'm not normally a pink mum lover, but I did like these a lot.
They've gone to that great garden in the sky.
One of the new ones from last fall. This spring? Dead.
So okay, here's a yellow one I really liked,
because it had that pretty orange eye.
Doesn't matter, though, because it died, too.
Lost this one last winter.