I was a notorious plant killer for most of my life. I was strictly forbidden from bringing home any new plants because it was inevitable that they would die not long after entering my home. I come from a family that excels at gardening, so what the heck was wrong with me?
Well, I was lazy. I didn't take the time to get to know the plants I was bringing home so I could properly care for them. I'd bring them in the house, set them down wherever I thought they looked pretty, then find myself "shocked" a few weeks later when the plants were dead.
Luckily, I've come a long way. I'm no expert gardener, but I now take the time to learn about the plants I'm bringing home so they have a chance at a good life.
With fall officially here, it's time for one of my absolute favorite plants - mums! They just scream "fall" and I feel giddy with excitement as soon as I see them on display at my grocery store.
Here is everything you need to know to have beautiful, healthy mums the whole season.
Place your mums in a place where they will receive full sun during the day (at least 6 hours of sun.) They love lots and lots of light and won't do well in shady areas!
Make sure you also keep the soil moist. When you first plant your mums, check the soil daily - if the soil feels dry, time to water them! My local nursery said to water them every other day, but I find that my window boxes dry out fast so I end up watering mine daily. Try to avoid directly watering the flowers as that can cause them to burn or rot - aim the water at the roots.
Once the mums are established in your container or in the ground, you may only need to water them once a week.
If one of the flowers dies, cut it off! This will encourage more blooming later in the season.
Fertilize the mums once a month.
Did you know mums are perennials? According to SF Gate, you can do the following to preserve mums and bring them back the next year:
"Prune back the entire plant to within 2 inches of the soil surface after it begins to die back in late fall or early winter. Bury the pot in the ground and cover the top with a 2-inch layer of mulch during winter. Lift the pots in spring and resume watering to encourage new growth." - SF Gate
However! If you are like me and you aren't planting your mums until October, they will not have enough time to establish their roots. Enjoy your mums as annuals because they likely won't survive the winter.