Fall Gardening, Part III: Mums


Cary, NC — So easy, so colorful, nothing says autumn like mums. When it comes to flowers in the fall, Chrysanthemum rules the garden.

In Praise of Mums

Chrysanthemum are plants with daisy-like flowers in the aster family.

In America, we call them Mums. In England, a mum is your Mommy. The English call the flower chrysanths.

Whatever you call them, Chrysanthemum is the star of the autumn garden.

Mums are native to Asia and have been cultivated in China since the 1500 BC. The emperor of Japan adopted the Chrysanthemum as his official symbol in the 8th century.

There is a Chrysanthemum Society of America that promotes propagation and cultivation.

About 40 species and hundreds of cultivars have been identified as part of the Chrysanthemum family.

Mums for the Autumn Garden

Most plants want to bloom in the spring and summer. But mums are more than willing to bloom prolifically in the fall garden.


Color is the main attraction of mums. The plants form symmetrical heads covered in colorful flowers. Yellow is the traditional color, but the local garden store is sure to have pinks, whites, orange, red and even mahogany and purple.


The simplest thing to do is but pots of mums and put them outside your front door. Instant color!

Mums are also great in massed beds or intermingled with other flowers and plants.

Chrysanthemum is not considered a perennial in our neck of the Piedmont, but our plants often come back for a second and third year. The flowers last until first frost.

Pair up your mums with some pumpkins for an inviting fall display.




Story and photos by Hal Goodtree.


The Gardening Column on CaryCitizen is sponsored by Garden Supply Company on Old Apex Road in Cary.