Who doesn’t enjoy the beautiful, colorful chrysanthemums that bloom in fall? If you’re growing a few at home, you’re probably wondering what is the best way to protect them from the coming frosts? Do mums have to be covered for frost? How can we protect them in winter? Can they even survive frost? Don’t worry! We are here to answer all these questions that interest you! Read on to find out the details!
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Do mums have to be covered for frost?
Chrysanthemums can be annual and perennial. Annual mums grow only for one season and perennial mums survive winter and then bloom again. If some of your chrysanthemums didn’t survive last year, they were most likely just annuals. The question is what to do to preserve the perennials, or as they are also called “hardy mums”. The simple answer is that you need to cover them for frost. Keep reading to understand why and how to do that, but first we will look at the two main types of chrysanthemums.
Types of chrysanthemums
Mums fall into two types – garden mums and florist/pot mums. Garden chrysanthemums, as you can guess from the name, are grown in the garden, i.e. outdoors, and are generally perennial and hardy. They can reach about 40 inches in height, depending on the conditions in which they are grown and how often the tops are trimmed during the growing season. Florist mums are placed in pots are not suitable for transplanting into the garden, they will not survive. The florist chrysanthemum is a low-growing plant and reaches up to 26 inches in height with large or small inflorescences.
Ways to protect chrysanthemums in winter
Caring for chrysanthemums differs depending on which type it belongs to, so we will look at both, starting from garden mums. Follow our tips to protect your favourite flowers from frost and provide them with everything they need to vegetate again!!
The first and most important thing to keep in mind is that you need to take good care of your mums all the time! They should be in good condition and healthy in order to survive winter. The chrysanthemum should be properly pruned, treated with protective fungicides and pesticides, and fertilized.
1. Additional layer of mulch
This method is suitable for regions where winters are mild, as it is the most convenient and quick option. If you choose to cover chrysanthemums with an additional layer of mulch, you must cut the plant back to about 4 inches tall, and the mulch layer is leveled to a level that completely covers the flower. This will be enough to protect the plant throughout the cold season. You can also place some sawdust on top.
2. Covering the chrysanthemum
If winters are very cold where you live, you will need to cover your outdoor chrysanthemums, so they can withstand the harsh conditions. So once again we answer the question “Do mums have to be covered for frost?” – Yes, they do! There is no need to cut the chrysanthemum very low if you choose this option. Cut off only the flower stalks and dry stems. It is important to press the mum gently to the ground and cover the area around it with any material that can retain heat (mulch, sawdust, straw). The most important thing to do is to ensure that it does not get wet, so cover the chrysanthemum with а polypropylene bag and press the edges with weights (bricks, rocks, etc.). Otherwise, rot can develop and destroy the chrysanthemum.
3. Setting up a dome/tunnel
Another effective method for protecting chrysanthemums from frost is to build a domed or tunneled structure. The plant needs to be properly pruned, then it is slightly bent towards the ground and a mulch is used to cover the surrounding area. Finally, pine branches are put on top. With the help of flexible sticks, a dome-shaped or tunnel-shaped structure is formed (depending on how the flowers are arranged in the garden), which is covered with a waterproof material.
If your potted chrysanthemums have been outside during the nice warm days, it is good to find a place for them at home when the weather starts to cool down. Where is it best for them to spend the winter?
1. In a cool and bright room
Once faded, cut the chrysanthemums to 4-6 inches and place them in a cool, bright room to spend the winter. The best temperature is 3-8 °C (38-46 °F). Water only when the soil is dry. They should usually be watered once a month.
2. On the windowsill
If you don’t have a cool room at home, you can leave the chrysanthemum on the windowsill in winter. You need to prune it as little as possible, removing only the flower buds and dry leaves and branches. Water it as you would do in the growing season.