I bought these beautiful mums at Sams Club last week. They were great for decorating for a large Labor Day family reunion, but now I'm wondering if I'm going to be able to plant them and have them again next year. There are no tags on them.
It's unlikely that they would survive the winter. That being said, you could try it.
One key is to plant them in the spring or early summer to get them well-established.
Another key is to select hardy forms such as the Mammoth Mums, which were bred in Minnesota.
Almost every year, I can't help but buy some mums in September. They're always so cheap, and are so perfectly mounded. Maybe 2 of 20 have failed to come back, so I really wonder why gardening books and sites say you need to get the mums planted early. Maybe it's my sandy soil? I don't know, but it's nice to buy a cute plant for fall color and have it come back. Now if only I could remember to pinch them into perfect mounds.
I agree - it's worth a try!
So, when should I plant them? Can I keep them until they start to dry up? I kept them on the back deck for the party, but now I'm going to move the two yellow ones to the front porch so they can be seen. Thanks for the responses!
I would suggest state_rat's experiences are the exception. I would also suggest if want them to survive the winter in your garden, to plant them sooner rather than later.
I never had any luck with those mums coming back. Other people in my neighborhood had them come back every year. Maybe they had planted theirs in spring originally? I gave up on them :)
Hard to say if these will return in the spring or not. The best thing to do in Zone 5 is to leave the foliage on and plant them in the ground in a full sun area that has good drainage. Be sure the spot is not wet or boggy. Mulch well with 4-6 inches of organic mulch such as old leaves or straw. They may survive the winter.
If they do make it through the winter, the plant will then regenerate from the woody base. One sign that they are bouncing back in the spring will be new green growth shoots on the brown, almost woody stems. Remove any dead foliage, and allow the leaves to regrow. The mums will hopefully re-flower in autumn.
In Zone 6, we've planted mums in the ground in early October using this method and they re-bloom the following autumn. You may want to plant them sooner than October though, since you're in Zone 5. Our first fall frost date in our area of Zone 6 is usually mid-to-late October, if that is any indication.
You may also want to plant them close to your house foundation if you can. This will provide them with some extra warmth through the winter, and if your foundation is concrete, they won't mind the slightly alkaline soil often found near concrete. But be sure the area you plant them in does not have an abundance of artificial night-time light, such as a street light, because strangely enough, this will confuse them and affect their blooming process.
They also like to be covered in snow in the winter.
hope this helps and good luck.
I had a very pretty soft yellow mum last fall that I really liked so I tried planting them hoping that they would come back. One of two did, with just a couple of stems and it has grown into a small plant over the summer. It was in a windy area too. I hope it will get through another winter now. It's worth a try.
Whenever I'v bought mums I plant them at this time and they almost always come back. The only exception is for some reason I have never had any of the burgundy or red ones survive. The oranges and yellows seem to survive just fine. I have to say that I have only planted smaller plants, none nearly as big as yours. It's definitely worth a shot. I agree not to cut any of the foliage off this fall.
Many of the mums that I buy in the fall from local nurseries do overwinter for me as well. I'm not so sure if that works with things from the big box stores, but local growers here often sell the hardier varieties in containers for fall buyers. However, they very carefully do NOT call them perennial, guarantee survival, or offer refunds for failure, and I don't blame them for that. Still it is well worth planting these mums out, if you have the room for them.
I even had one very small mum that I kept in its plastic container and used inside a decorative pot on the bottom step of my front porch that overwintered in the middle of a mass planting of hostas in front of my foundation shrubs. Apparently while cleaning up the yard in the fall (actually tossing things into the trash) the green plastic pot and plant got overlooked. In the spring when I found it, it had new growth so I planted it in the garden where it still resides today
After years of planting mums and not having them come thru the winter I asked one of the local growers here in SW Michigan what was the secret to get these to survive. He just laughed and said "you won't like this but go home and shear off all the blooms and plant them in the ground"! Well, I did shear off all the blooms, planted them in the ground and they came back next spring like gangbusters! You might like to try it - it worked for me a couple of times and I haven't lost one since doing that.