Why You Should Be Planting Fuji Mums Right Now For Long Lasting, Late Season Blooms

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Why You Should Be Planting Fuji Mums Right Now For Long Lasting, Late Season Blooms

Why You Should Be Planting Fuji Mums Right Now For Long Lasting, Late Season Blooms

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Fall is fast creeping up on us, and many people are ready for sweaters and pumpkin spice, but some flower-loving folk may not be ready to move past the color and blooms of warmer seasons. Luckily, mums — aka chrysanthemums — can last well into the season. If you want blooms in your garden until even as late as November (depending on your region), however, look to the Fuji mum, which can brighten up your garden well into the winter season.

These specialized mums, also known as spider mums, are very different from the classic mums that most people in North America and Europe grow. Thought to have originated in China, they generally have long, thin, spindly petals that are separated from each other, often with a slight curl at the tip, giving the appearance of spider legs, hence the spider nickname. Like regular chrysanthemums, they come in many different variations, with a wide selection of colors, petals, and stem sizes. Known by the genus Chrysanthemum morifolium, they’re also often referred to as “florist’s chrysanthemums” because they last for anywhere from 14 to 21 days in a cut flower arrangement, and are often used in bridal bouquets.

Your best bet is to buy them online

Multiple colored spider mums

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As beautiful as Fuji mums can be, because they bloom late in the season, they can be hard to find unless you have an extensive garden center near you. Therefore, your best bet is to order them online from a specialty grower. Depending on your region — especially zone 5 or below — you might need to cover them to protect them from early frosts.While ideally, they would be planted in the spring after the first frost, like other late-season mums, the fall season is not too late to put them into the ground or grow mums in containers, as they prefer cooler temperatures. 

When your seedlings arrive, be sure to plant them a fair distance apart, at least 10 inches, and stake them as they grow, as they will spread out and become top-heavy due to the weight of the bud. They like full to partial sun outdoors but can also be brought inside in the winter in pots. The advantage of a pot is that after they flower, you can cut them back hard and keep them in a cool, dry location away from the cold weather and bring them back out in the spring after the frost time has passed.

The right pruning will have a big impact

Mauve and yellow Fuji mum

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Spider mums, when blooming, can grow enormous flower heads — up to six inches across! While standard mums need to be cut back hard to encourage new growth and buds, with Fuji mums, you want to let the plant focus its energy on building a few large flowers. To encourage larger blooms, you’ll need to use a practice called “disbudding,” where you selectively nip off smaller buds and trim back extra stems as they grow. The fewer buds, the larger the main flowers will become. If you don’t prune them back, you’ll get more flowers, but they won’t reach their maximum size.

If you’re not ready to take the plunge and plant your own chrysanthemums, you could visit one of the many local botanical gardens nationwide that showcase spider mums in their peak blooming season, generally from late October to late November. Then, if you like what you see, you can design your garden for next spring and be ready to include these lovely, unique plants.

✿ Read More About Flowers.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.