Fall garden mums, (Chrysanthemum morifolium), are one of the most popular flowers here in Missouri. Mums come in a variety of shapes and colors and are perfect fall flowers to compliment the colors of the changing trees. Mums are classified by flower shape. These include daisy, pompon, anemone, and button mums. Daisy mums have daisy-like flowers with rows of long petals radiating from a flat, central, yellow eye. Pompon mums have stiff, globular double flowers with no daisy-like eye. Anemone mums are similar to daisy mums, but have a rounded crest of deeper colored petals in the center instead of the “eye.” Button mums have small double flowers on plants less than 18 inches tall. Chrysanthemums have shallow root systems and must be planted in well-drained soil, but I have found that here in St. Louis, they are a very reliable and hardy plant that will last well into the colder times of the year. After planting them, make sure that there are no depressions around the plants that may collect water. Water that doesn’t drain may encourage disease in the summer and plant damage during colder weather.
Plant mums in a full sun location about 15-20 inches apart. If planting in the fall, allow six weeks of good weather, so the root systems can take hold. Make sure the plants get a good water supply in the summer, as plants that dry out are less likely to survive when cold weather hits.
Many St. Louis area nurseries, landscape, and garden centers have great deals on mums this time of year. Most of the bargains are while supplies last, so get there early for the best selection:
The Flower Box at Holly Hills and Morganford in St. Louis has 10 percent off of purchases of 10 or more jumbo mums. They are also offering the discount on tropical plants, soil, and garden planters. Annuals are buy one, get one free.
Sherwood’s Forest Nursery and Garden center at 2651 Barrett Station Rd. in Ballwin has 9-inch mums, five for $25. Japanese Maples are 50 percent off and a full flat of pansies goes for $12.
On the other side of the river, Creekside Gardens, 721 Johnson Hill Road in Collinsville, has 8 inch mums for sale, three for $11.50. All perennials are buy two and get one free. Hanging baskets are on sale for $8.99, and annuals are buy one and get one free.
Effinger’s Garden center at 720 South 11th Street in Belleville has mums, three for $15. They normally sell for $5.98 each. You’ll find daylilies on sale for $3.49 each and pansies at just $6.98 each. While you are there check out the bargains in the tent sale on the parking lot. Annuals are reduced to $1 each and there are 30 to 60 percent savings on shrubs, trees, and perennials.
And finally, don’t forget the gift shop at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. They have hardy mums and hardy asters as well as flowering kale for $5.50 each.
Mums are ideal flowers to add some color to your fall garden this year, and at these prices, you can afford more than just a splash.