Sometime in spring, and then again in the fall, the benches at local garden centers come to life with rows and rows of beautiful garden mums. Well loved by homeowners they are often purchased to be enjoyed inside for a few weeks and then discarded, without a thought to moving them to a permanent residence outside.
Garden mums are incredibly easy to plant, and these 6 great tips will make sure you do it successfully!
1. Clean and sterilize containers
Before starting to plant potted mums into permanent containers, it's critical to make sure containers are clean and don't have any diseases hanging around from past inhabitants. Garden Therapy walks you through the step by step processing of properly cleaning garden pots using vinegar.
2. Create drainage holes
To keep excess water from sitting in the bottom of the pot, drowning the roots, make sure that pots have adequate drainage holes in the bottom. If they don't have holes you can use a drill to create them in both terracotta and plastic containers. If you don't want the potting soil to spill out of the holes layer a coffee filter (or two) over the holes.
3. Cover the bottom with potting soil
When potting mums in a larger, permanent container you want to start by putting a small layer of fresh potting soil in the bottom of the new pot. You can either make your own potting soil following directions from the internet, or you can purchase a pre-made, commercial potting soil from a local retailer. Confused about the ingredients in potting soil? Check out this explanation by Modern Farmer to get a better understanding.
4. Tease the plant roots
After growing in a container for a while, the roots will start to grow in a circular fashion at the bottom -- a condition known as being "root-bound" that limits development. Before planting into a new container use your hands/fingers to gently tease the mass of roots, decompressing them so they can grow outwards easily in the new pot.
5. Fill the container
Once the roots are opened up, place the plant in the container on the layer of potting soil and begin to gently fill in the space between the roots and the side of the container. Build the soil level up 1" or so above the existing potting soil and tamp down slightly.
6. Water in
To get rid of any air pockets that may have occurred, water the mum well after you have finished filling the container with potting soil. This will help to shift the soil around and close in any big gaps.