For spring gardens, mothers say the word

From August to September, chrysanthemums (aka mums) appear in kindergartens and gardens.

During the harvest season, these plants are an integral part of many landscapes and when most other garden plants begin to decline, they can provide some of the color needed for our environment.

Although we usually consider them annual, mothers are stronger than zones 5-9, meaning they can live outdoors in Illinois (Illinois zones 5-7A). But many find it difficult to find mothers to survive the winter. So what can be done to help mothers live in our community?


The most common reason why mothers can’t win is that we often try to plant mothers during the harvest season. Unfortunately, this is not the best time of the year to plant them. It is spring. Planting in the spring gives the plants enough time to form in the landscape. So, if you plan to plant your mothers this fall, put them in the ground late.

Mothers also have a shallow root system that makes them more vulnerable to release during the winter. This earthquake (due to repeated cooling and thawing of the soil) can seriously damage or kill plants. To help prevent this, apply a 4-inch brush to your plants as the ground begins to cool. This helps prevent excessive oscillations in the soil temperature and therefore does not move.

Mothers are prone to drying up because of their shallow roots. Drought-stricken plants are less likely to survive the winter than well-watered plants. Therefore, if conditions are dry, they may need to be watered. Weeding also helps maintain soil moisture.

Regardless of when you plant your mothers outdoors, they should be planted in moist, well-drained soil. Mothers don’t like to have “wet feet,” so avoid low places and heavy soils. Mothers also need a station that receives full sun (at least six hours).

It may also help to put your mother in a safe place. Planted plants are exposed to harsh conditions and are more likely to be damaged in more protected areas, such as those near the house.

In the fall, stay away from the temptation to cut them off after your mothers have gone to bed. Leaving the old growth helps to provide an extra layer of protection to help your plants survive the winter.

If growth resumes in the spring, remove old plant material from last year. Once the new growth is 6 inches long, pinch the growing tips. This helps to create a “shrub” rather than a “foot” plant. Plants can be pruned two to three times, the last of which takes place in early June / July (July 4 is a common way for people to remember this). In addition to finding shrubs, pruning can help a flowering mom fall.

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