My Chrysanthemum Flowers Don’t Always Thrive

Nothing beats chrysanthemum flowers for fall décor. I love them! Although I live in an area where these plants are hardy, I usually treat them as annuals. I’ve previously planted more than my fair share of mums in the garden, and finding space for others isn’t that easy. Still, you can’t beat those late summer/early fall plant sales when chrysanthemums are readily available. The colorful blooms add instant appeal to the front porch, or anywhere a little pop of color is needed.

Ssh! Mum’s the Word

It goes without saying that I’m only human and, as such, I’m far from perfect. While I have planted numerous mums in the garden, they don’t always flourish. – OMG, what? Everyone thought you were a bona fide gardener. How can this be? 

As sad as that is, it’s true. It doesn’t matter how long someone has been a gardener or how much inciteful info they might know, not every plant will perform perfectly for everyone. My mother, for example, has been a gardener far longer than me. I’ve seen few plants she couldn’t grow, like my grandfather before her. Yet, she struggles with getting zinnias to grow, one of the easiest flowers (in my opinion) to cultivate. For me, the challenge is normally with succulents, though the chrysanthemum’s life beyond fall in my garden can be a bit iffy too. Some of them grow beautifully for years but then simply go kaput. Others struggle in our summer drought, as the plants tend to prefer moisture. I’ve even had mums that, well, just don’t grow as big and lush as they once did, or put their blooms out in spring and never again (even with pinching). Whatever the case may be, it never hurts to acquire more, whether it’s through the seasonal sales or by propagating new plants from cuttings of current ones. And I’m always doing one or the other, or both.

Nowadays I’m just happy to have them around me for however long they wish to be here. If they make it through another fall season blessing me with colorful blooms, I consider that a win. And if not, I just enjoy them while I can. Annuals are always welcome. They serve their purpose well, offering up instantaneous color and seasonal appeal. Mums work well in fall displays with pumpkins, gourds, corn stalks and the like, but they’re just as impactful on their own. While different gardeners have different struggles, they share different tastes as well. Mums will always have a place on my front stoop each year, and if they make it beyond that in the garden, I’ll take that too.

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