Top 5 Mums To Plant As A Perennial In Michigan

Top 5 Mums To Plant As A Perennial In Michigan

Are Mums Grown As A Perennial Plant In Michigan?

Yes, mums (Chrysanthemums) are generally considered perennial plants in Michigan. Perennial plants are those that can live for more than two years, and they typically go through a period of dormancy during the winter before regrowing in the spring. 

In Michigan’s climate, garden mums can survive the winter and come back year after year, adding beautiful color to gardens and landscapes in the fall season. However, it’s important to note that the specific variety of mum and the care provided can affect their hardiness and ability to overwinter successfully. Some gardeners may choose to protect their mums during the winter by providing extra insulation or by planting them in protected areas.

(Featured Image: Chrysanthemum rubellum ‘Clara Curtis’ WW39 Mum F2- by F. D. Richards is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.)

Top 5 Mums For Perennial Gardens In Michigan

In Michigan, there are several types of hardy mums that are commonly grown as perennials. These varieties are known for their ability to withstand the winter conditions and return year after year. Here are a few perennial mum cultivars that are well-suited for Michigan:

1. Sheffield

This variety is a popular choice for its hardiness and ability to survive in colder climates. It produces beautiful pink or lavender flowers and is known to be reliable and long-lived.

2. Clara Curtis

Clara Curtis mums feature daisy-like flowers in shades of pink and lavender. They are known for their excellent cold tolerance and can thrive in Michigan’s climate.

3. Ryan’s Pink

Ryan’s Pink mums produce lovely pink flowers and are highly regarded for their cold hardiness. They can withstand Michigan winters and return reliably each year.

4. Mary Stoker

Mary Stoker mums display vibrant yellow flowers and are known for their ability to endure colder temperatures. They are a popular choice for perennial gardens in Michigan.

4. Tina

Tina mums offer an abundance of small, decorative flowers in shades of pink, red, and white. They are known for their hardiness and can be relied upon to come back year after year.

These are just a few examples of perennial mum varieties that have shown good performance in Michigan. When selecting mums for your garden, it’s always a good idea to consult with local garden centers to find cultivars specifically recommended for your area.

Mary Stoker mums are a hardy variety that is great for Michigan perennial gardens.

Chrysanthemum rubellum ‘Mary Stoker’, 2015 by F. D. Richards is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Can You Overwinter Mums In Pots In Michigan?

Yes, you can overwinter mums in pots with proper care and attention. Here are some steps you can follow to increase the chances of successfully overwintering mums in pots:

  • Choose the right pot: Select a pot that is large enough to accommodate the mum’s root system and has good drainage. A container with drainage holes at the bottom is essential to prevent waterlogging, which can cause root rot. Plant the mum with well-draining soil to keep the roots moist but not soaked. 
  • Insulate the pot: To protect the roots from freezing temperatures, insulate the pot by wrapping it with burlap or bubble wrap. This helps to maintain more stable soil temperatures during winter. Add some dried leaves or un-dyed mulch to the base of the plant for additional insulation.
  • Watering: Before winter arrives, make sure the mums are adequately watered. Water the plants thoroughly, but avoid over waterings the soil. Too much water can lead to root rot during winter. Monitor the soil moisture and water only when the top inch of soil feels dry.
  • Mulch the soil: Apply a layer of mulch, such as straw or shredded leaves, around the base of the mum plants in pots. Mulch helps to insulate the soil and protect the roots from extreme temperature fluctuations.
  • Move the pots to a sheltered location: Find a sheltered spot in your garden or on a porch where the pots can be placed during winter. Look for an area that provides some protection from strong winds and extreme cold temperatures. You can also consider placing the pots against a south-facing wall or near the house, as it may provide additional warmth.
  • Monitor and protect from extreme cold: Keep an eye on the weather forecast and take precautions if extremely cold temperatures are expected. If the temperatures drop significantly, you can wrap the pots with additional insulation, such as blankets or frost cloth, or even move them indoors to an unheated garage or basement temporarily.
  • Limit watering during winter: Once winter sets in, reduce watering frequency as the mums will be in a dormant state. Water sparingly, only when the soil appears dry, but be cautious not to let the soil completely dry out.
  • Resume regular care in spring: As the weather warms up in spring, remove any insulation or coverings from the pots. Gradually increase watering and resume regular care, such as fertilizing and pruning, to promote new growth.

How To Care For Perennial Mums In Landscaping

Caring for perennial garden mums in Michigan is similar to caring for perennial mums in general, but there are some specific considerations due to Michigan’s climate. Here are some tips for caring for perennial garden mums in Michigan:

  1. Planting: Choose a planting location that receives full sun for at least six hours a day. Use a well-drained soil blend to prevent root rot, and make sure your planting location is not in an area of your yard that floods. Amend the ground with compost or organic matter to create a rich soil blend. 
  2. Watering: Water newly planted mums regularly until they are established. Most mums prefer a lot of water during the hot summer, so aim to provide about an inch of water per week. Monitor the soil moisture and adjust watering based on rainfall and weather conditions. Be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot.
  3. Mulching: Apply 1-2 inches of mulch, such as straw or shredded bark, around the base of the plants. Mulching helps retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weeds. Maintain a layer of mulch throughout the growing season.
  4. Fertilizing: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring when new growth starts to emerge. Follow the fertilizer packaging instructions for application rates. Aim to apply mulch 2-3 times throughout the summer, with the final application of fertilizer around late September before the plant goes dormant. 
  5. Pinching and Pruning: Pinching back the tips of young mums in early spring and throughout the summer until around the fourth of July encourages branching and more flower buds. Prune the plants by cutting back the dead stems to about half their height after they finish blooming. 
  6. Winter Protection: Provide winter protection for garden mums in Michigan, as we experience cold winters here. In late fall, after the first hard frost, cut back the stems to about 2-3 inches above the soil level on mature plants. Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plants to insulate the soil and protect the roots from freezing temperatures. You can also consider covering the plants with a layer of burlap or using frost cloths during extreme cold spells.
  7. Divide and Transplant: Every few years, divide and transplant the mums to maintain their vigor and promote better flowering. This is typically done in early spring or early fall when the plants are not actively blooming. 
  8. Pest and Disease Control: Monitor the plants regularly for pests and fungal disease common to mums, such as aphids, spider mites, powdery mildew, or leaf spot. Take appropriate measures, such as using organic or chemical controls, to treat any infestations or diseases.

When Is The Best Time Of Year To Plant Mums In Michigan?

The best time to plant mums in Michigan is in the late spring or early summer. It’s recommended to plant mums after the danger of frost has passed and the soil has started to warm up. Typically, late May through June is a suitable time for planting mums in Michigan.

Planting mums in the spring allows them to establish their root systems before the onset of winter. This gives them ample time to develop strong roots and adapt to their new surroundings, promoting better growth and blooming in the fall.

If you’re planting mums purchased in pots or containers, they can be planted throughout the growing season as long as the soil is workable and temperatures are not excessively hot. However, planting in the spring allows the plants to establish and settle in earlier, giving them more time to grow and develop.

Are Mums A Good choice For Michigan Perennial Gardens?

Yes, mums can be an excellent choice for perennial flowers in Michigan. Here are a few reasons why:

Hardy and Resilient 

Many mum cultivars are hardy varieties and can withstand Michigan’s climate, including its cold winters. With proper care and protection in the winter months, mums can survive the cold weather and thrive in Michigan’s sandy soil, returning year after year.

Fall Flowers

Mums are known for their vibrant and abundant fall blooms, which can add a burst of color to your garden when other plants may be winding down for the season. Their beautiful flowers come in a wide range of colors and shapes, making them versatile for garden design.

Variety of Cultivars

There is a wide variety of mum cultivars available, allowing you to choose different colors, sizes, and growth habits to suit your garden’s style and preferences. From large, showy blooms to smaller, dainty flowers, there is a mum cultivar for every taste.

Low Maintenance

Once established, mums are generally low-maintenance plants. They require regular watering, occasional fertilization, and some pruning or pinching for optimal growth and appearance. However, they are generally not overly demanding and can fit well into a busy gardener’s routine.

Attracts Pollinators

Mums’ flowers are a source of nectar and pollen, attracting bees, butterflies, and other pollinators to your garden. Supporting pollinators is beneficial for the overall health of your garden and ecosystem.

When selecting mums for your perennial garden in Michigan, consider choosing cultivars that are specifically labeled as hardy for your hardiness zone. Additionally, be sure to provide proper care, including well-drained soil, adequate sunlight, and protection during extreme winter conditions, to help ensure the success and longevity of your mums in your garden.

Add Mums To Your Michigan Landscape

Mums are one of the best perennials you can add to your landscaping if you’re looking for fall blooms! These low-maintenance perennials make a great addition to Michigan flower beds and can thrive in our region despite the cooler temperatures. When you choose a hardy type of mum that is suited for our climate, you will be rewarded with beautiful blooms in your fall garden for years to come.

Chrysanthemum ‘Ruby Mound’ 10:2021 Mum- by F. D. Richards is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.