Buying, Planting and Caring for Fall Flowers
Just because cold weather is about to set in does not mean flowers can no longer bloom. Both chrysanthemums and pansies are among several fall flowers that not only bloom but in the case of chrysanthemums will act as perennials in all but the coldest climates.
Be sure to pick mums with blossoms that resemble little dahlias, because the new petals on this type bloom from the center for up to a month while old petals fade out of sight. The end result is blossoms that will last a long time.
If you choose plants with full buds that have just begun to open and water them regularly you will alleviate problems due to plants becoming root bound and drying out quickly. Check the potted mums when making your purchase to be sure you are not buying root bound plants at the outset. Remember a grower, nursery or garden center are the best places to shop for healthy plants, not the discount or grocery stores.
If you plan to keep your mums as perennials, there are a few things to remember. When the mums start to fade, move the pots to a cool place, such as an unheated garage, and don’t trim them back. Water them occasionally throughout winter. When little tufts of green emerge from the base of the plants in early spring, prune back the dead stems and set the plants out in the garden. They will then grow into thriving plants that will survive future winters with gusto.
Pansies bloom in the fall, hang around through the winter, and then bloom again in the spring. Many pansies survive even the coldest winter if you plant them early enough to be well rooted by the time the soil freezes and if you start with a hardy variety. Pansies stop developing new roots when the temperature of the soil drops below 45 degrees F. In cold climates it’s important to get seedlings into the ground as soon as possible.
You can further enhance the hardiness of autumn-planted pansies by mulching over them with 2 inches of very loosely packed pine needles or clean straw. Apply mulch as soon as winter begins to blast.
You should have already begun shopping for your mums and pansies. Don’t delay. It’s time to get them started and it’s time for you to be enjoying the beauty of your Fall Flowers.