'Hardy' Mums

livingdedgrrl(z5 OH)September 5, 2007

I know that getting mums to come back every year is a hit or miss. Rarely do they ever come back, and according to the nurseries around me, there are many reasons why, which I understand.

However, I have 2 particularly persistant mums that have come back every year for 3 years now. One is a rust-red color, and the other is a lilac purple color. In the spring and early summer, when they start to pop up, I cut them down to make them bushier, which works very well...a little TOO well. Now I have individual, single, bushy mum plants all over one area in my flower garden. I'm not complaining at all - it's great!!

But my question is: I would like to dig some of the red ones up and move them to other areas of my garden. Since they came from a parent plant that seems to have cast-iron roots, does that mean that these little guys will be just as resilient?

I don't want to dig them up and move them if they'll die over the winter. I know for sure they'll come back next year right where they are (and then some). I'd just like to spread the wealth if I could.

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leslie197(z5 MI)

I would think it is worth a try. I just would not move all of them to one new spot. At least in my garden, I know there are some spots where a mum is likely to winter over and some spots where it probably won't. I'd move enough of them to the new location (or preferably 2 or 3 new spots) to give you a good start, but leave some of them safe where they are. That way if it doesn't work, you won't have lost the whole batch and can try again.

BTW, in my garden most mums bought in fall from my local nursery will overwinter if I plant them in the upper garden. The ones planted in my lower garden where it is wetter & more exposed are hit or miss. I also found that they don't care much for one spot in my southwest corner, even if it's reasonably near the house - think there is a bit of a drainage problem there, which doesn't bother them in the warm weather (always seem very healthy), but takes them out in the cold weather.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 6:39PM
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webkat5(Z6a MO)

Don't do it now...move them in the spring....

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 10:51PM
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I just read in our local paper to transplant/divide mums in Spring. They seem to survive best when done in Spring. Don't cut yours back in Fall, wait until Spring for that too. I've had one mum for 9 yrs. It has northern exposure. I don't even cover the base for winter and it come back nice and full in Spring. I've even gotten some babies from it. One thing they need is good drainage, especially during the winter. They don't like having puddles of water around them.
Good luck with yours!


    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 5:05AM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

I also advise waiting until spring if you can to divide/move.

For future reference: If I buy mums locally, I look for the ones clearly labelled "hardy mums".

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 3:21PM
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If they are purchased and planted in the fall, even 'hardy' mums are likely to perish during the winter. I think they just don't have time to develop adequate roots. It makes sense to buy Bluestone's starts in the spring. Unfortunately, they are sold in threes, and I never want three of the same mums. Share them, I suppose.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 6:06PM
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mehearty(So ME z5a)

I just moved 3 yesterday that had gotten too bushy for their original spot. I had planted them last October, and they came back like gangbusters, so I'm not terribly worried about root development. However I did move them to a less protected garden (no protection actually) so if they die off it's because of that IMO. Well that and the fact that it's a new lasgna bed with very little soil. lol

My darker colors (inluding rust) tend to come back for me. I heard that's typical up north. I'm experimenting w/white that turns to pink hoping they'll come back as well. I put those where I took the other ones out.

If we get terribly cold temps w/little snow cover I figure all of them will be toast. =( So I would try w/at least one plant & see how it does. You never know!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 6:21PM
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Nancy zone 6

Next year when you trim, just stick the trimmings in the ground & keep it watered. They are very easy to root, & easier than moving, unless you just want them in a different place.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 7:18PM
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leslie197(z5 MI)

I have some pale cream-colored ones that were planted as a gift by a local landscape company when they added some shrubs and a tree to a corner bed in 1994. Still doing fine! They also turn pinkish as the blooms age. Around here the mums carried by our good local nurseries will generally return, even planted in the late fall as these were.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 7:41PM
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livingdedgrrl(z5 OH)

I never thought about poking the clippings in the ground! I'll definitely remember that next year.

I kinda had a hunch that planting mums in the fall didn't give them enough time to develop the strength in their roots to last them through our cold winters here. I also leave them standing until the spring to help shield the plant from snow and to give the critters some place to hide.

So, if mums do so much better when planted in summer, why do they only sell them in the fall?? I know a lot of places just want to make a buck, and so they do it with people who just want some fleeting fall color, but even in the garden centers and nurseries they're only available in the fall.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 9:28PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Nurseries make their money on impulse buyers. "Look honey! Isn't that pretty! Let's buy that." This is why they sell things when they are blooming. And this is why the serious gardeners can rarely find fall blooming plants in the spring. They're aren't in bloom then. AND...this is why it's hard to find fall bloomers in the fall....there isn't as much foot traffic through the nursery then, so they don't stock as much inventory. Oh well....that's my beef.

Anyway, I echo the earlier advice to wait until spring to divide your mums. A good rule of thumb is to divide things in the season opposite to their bloom time: divide spring bloomers in the fall, and fall bloomers in the spring. (Yes, there are exceptions, but mums aren't one of them.)

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 10:06PM
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I had two large pink ones that have come back well for a few years now in a poorly drained area too! but last year I think there was not enough snow cover. One barely came back, the other is not nearly as large as it used to be. The two in my well drained warmer area did not come back at all. They surely don't follow the rules!!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 10:47PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I am in zone6a and I have had good luck with Mums coming back. I haven't a lot..three altogether up until last year, but those three have been coming back for at least 7 years.

One was up against the house facing west and I dug it out and potted it up in the spring and it is still in a pot. The other was in a part shade corner that seems partly exposed. I think the third is Sheffield Pink and it is in too much shade and entirely exposed to the windiest part of the yard and comes back every year, even a few years with cold temps and very little snow cover.

Last year, I purchased two mums and two asters at a local nursery to use in my containers. I enjoyed them all last fall and just left them in their 20" containers all winter. I was very surprised to see both asters come back and one of the mums. I moved the asters to perennial beds in late spring I guess and they seem to have formed buds, so I am waiting to see how they do when they bloom. The mum that survived was in a window box on the ground and I left it there all summer. It hasn't grown any larger than it was last year but there are buds on it. I really should plant that one in the ground this fall. Soon actually.

I also bought a 3 pack of mums from Bluestone in the spring and they are in the ground after hanging around too long. [g] They haven't grown much but at least they have been in the ground for awhile but I just realized they are in my windiest location. So now I am not sure whether to try moving them now or wait for spring.

I might try to buy more in the spring from Bluestone. I don't usually buy three of the same kind either. They have combos but they haven't appealed to me. They do have a nice selection of mums that are different than what you usually see locally. Really, I do understand the point Donna was making about 'impulse buying', but really I prefer to wait until something is in bloom to choose it any way. I don't think of that as impulse buying though. I just don't think it works out well every time, to choose a plant from a photo in a catalog, or a book. The colors in photos are just not dependable. Therefore, I have purchased every mum, except this past order from Bluestone, in the fall. What is worse, I usually have used them in containers all fall and then either left them in containers all winter or planted them in the ground. So it is surprising that they have come back.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 7:02AM
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    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 5:21PM
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