Plant Hardy Mums in Spring, Not Fall

Mums are a tempting impulse buy in the fall, when they’re in full bloom at markets, grocery stores, garden centers and just about everywhere in between. Sure, you’ll get weeks of blooms from these colorful potted plants, but plant them in the garden in fall and they probably won’t come back again next year. The key to years of bold, late-season garden color is selecting the right mum variety and giving it time to get established in your garden.


The first step is selecting the right hardy mum for your garden. There are no guarantees that the everyday mums sold in fall are hardy or will survive their first winter, even if they are marked as hardy. Most mums are only hardy to zone 5, but we offer a truly perennial mum that is hardy to zone 3. Hardy Mammoth Mums were bred by the University of Minnesota to withstand extreme winter temperatures as cold as –30 degrees Fahrenheit. Hardy in zones 3 to 9, these mums do equally well in warmer climates and can be grown virtually anywhere in the U.S. They grow to an astounding 3 1/2 feet tall and 5 feet across, creating a true focal point in the garden. Covered with hundreds of beautiful, bright blooms, these beauties make a big impact as hedges, mass plantings or individuals. You won’t find mums that come close to this size at markets or garden centers. The key to growing hardy mums is planting them in the spring. The mums sold mid-bloom in fall are putting a lot of energy into blooming, not growing roots. So when you plant these mums in early or mid-fall, they don’t have enough time to become established in your garden. This might not be a problem in warmer climates, but in areas with sub-zero winters, the freezing and thawing of the soil will heave the plant right out of the ground and kill its roots. Plant a hardy variety like our Hardy Mammoth Mums in spring so they have plenty of time for root growth. Plant them in full sun or part shade in the spring and sit back for easy-to-grow, spectacular fall beauty. They don’t even require any pinching, pruning or deadheading. At the end of fall, simply cut their stems down to 4 inches above the ground and look forward to seeing your hardy mums put on another spectacular show next year.