Most fall-planted chrysanthemums don't make it through the winter around here, but there are some hardy mums that are perennial in zones 5-9 if planted in the spring so their roots can get well established before winter. Mulching well, planting in an area with good winter drainage and waiting to cut back dead foliage until spring also increase the chance of mums surviving cold winters. Last spring I planted several types of hardy mums in my garden. Above is 'Jessica Louise,' which is still blooming in my yard despite many frosts in the past month. *In my original post I mixed up some of the mum names. I think I've got them correct now.
Earlier blooms on 'Jessica Louise' were this lighter shade of peachy-pink. I've noticed that color tends to deepen on chrysanthemum flowers opening in color temperatures, though the color often fades as the flower ages.
Last week I was surprised to find enough flowers to create this arrangement. My garden looks very bare overall, with many perennials cut to the ground. But the mums, violet asters, 'Chantilly' light salmon snapdragons and a few 'Princess Alexandra of Kent' roses were still in bloom.
The little rusty-red mums are 'Fireglow,' and the coral ones are 'Whippoorwill.' I'm excited to grow some large-flowered mums next year for arrangements. Many of the showiest mums aren't hardy here, but there are a few selections available from online companies.
Here is 'Fireglow' in the garden. It didn't get full sun so it leaned toward the light. Next spring I'm planning to transplant it to a better spot.
Despite arriving this spring as a tiny plant in a 6" pot, 'Whippoorwill' grew to 3 feet tall and wide by fall. It was planted in good soil with plenty of water and nearly full sun, which are ideal conditions for mums. The mums I planted in mostly shade didn't grow well (especially since the slugs devoured them, but I've already bought bags of iron phosphate to spread next spring to reduce my slug problem). Next spring I'm going to transplant poor slug-eaten 'Pink Crest' and purple 'Medicine Bow' to sunnier spots.
The vase above includes coral-peach 'Coral Cavalier' and purple 'Medicine Bow.' which surprised me when it opened more buds after the tree leaves dropped and it received more sun. Bluestone Perennials has a large selection of hardy mums, and I'm happily planning which ones to order next: creamy 'French Vanilla,' salmon-peach 'Homecoming,' golden-orange 'Ticonderoga,' amber 'Cheerleader,' fuchsia 'Debutante,' shell pink 'Helen Mae,' golden lavender 'Fall Charm,' 'Red Volunteer,' and white 'Nor'easter.'
'Mickey' was a lovely bloomer with typical orange-red fall color. Here are the first flowers in September.
By the end of October, after numerous frosts, 'Mickey' looked a little worse for wear but still sported good color. At the right is a non-hardy mum whose name escapes me.
The past few years have found me beefing up my fall garden with more dahlias, sedums, asters, hardy mums and Japanese anemones. Last week I planted one 'Honorine Jobert' anemone (the classic tall single white), three 'Lucky Charm' anemones (compact purple foliage in spring and dark pink single flowers in fall); and three 'Pocahontas' anemones (bubble gum pink double flowers, compact, and supposed to stay in a clump instead of running all over). I already grow light pink single Anemone robustissima, whose spreading is a pain to contain but it's so pretty that I keep it. It's delight to keep planting new perennials and imagine how much prettier the garden will be next year.