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Do More with Mums

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Indoors or out, chrysanthemums put a pretty spin on fall. Treat them as annuals or plan for them to return year after year.

Chrysanthemum bloom.
Mums and companion flowers in pots.

Strength in Numbers

Give mums a boost by surrounding them with attractive companions. For continuity, group various-size pots with a shared color palette. Then fill with mums, coralbells, kale, purple fountaingrass, dusty miller, and juniper. That’s just a sample of the possible mum partners.

Mums arranged in balls as a centerpiece.

Mounds of Joy

These plush tabletop accents are easy to put together. Poke the short stems of individual mum blooms into a dampened floral foam ball until the ball is covered. Repeat with more blooms and balls. Arrange the mum-covered balls on a tray or in a bowl. Kept damp, the blooms can stay fresh for several days.

Cut mum floral arrangements.

Making a Display

Mums make long-lasting cut flowers; they often last 10–14 days. Available in a variety of colors and flower shapes, mums offer many possibilities for mantel and tabletop accents. Pair them in a vase with dahlias and sedum. Finish the arrangement with gourds, rose hips, and colorful maple leaves. Clippings can also be assembled into a mum wreath.

Mum Care Tips

Plant in a well-drained site with plenty of sunlight -- some afternoon shade is helpful in hot climates. If the soil is sandy or claylike, amend the site with compost and peat moss.
Provide ample moisture. Potted mums in particular will flag if moisture is lacking. Those planted in the landscape -- especially those that are well established -- tend to be water thrifty. But they will look fuller and healthier if watered regularly.
Mulch plants with shredded leaves, wood chips, or pine straw. Keep mulch a few inches away from the main stem to avoid rot or insect damage.
Treat mums as annuals, discarding them at the end of the season. If you decide to overwinter plants, though, store potted mums, roots slightly moist, in a cool basement for the winter. Landscape mums in Zones 5–9 can sometimes be overwintered in place, although those planted earlier in the season stand the best chance of surviving in cold climates. Cut plants back to 4 inches after flowering and mulch with straw. Keep roots watered until the ground freezes. Remove the straw in early spring.