This weekend’s Mum Fest in Barberton will be quite busy to say the least with all the activities centered around Lake Anna. As an outgrowth of the first Mum Fest in 1991 to celebrate Barberton’s Centennial, the fest activities and site has grown exponentially. When the town founder, Ohio Columbus Barber started construction on his mansion, barns, greenhouses and other out buildings starting at the turn of the century, it is said that as many as 2,000 people a day would come to see the massive projects going on all at once.

At the nursery, potting of perennials still goes on as well as nursery stock. Clematis that were potted in July are growing like mad and will be “put to bed” in late October under the greenhouse benches to be brought out in early March to be sold starting in mid-April. The winter time is when the plant roots grow and bulk up to produce a lush plant by the time spring arrives.

The perennial house is starting to run somewhat low with much empty space now being filled by garden mums.

So here’s the scoop about garden mums:

  1. Most likely, mums that are advertised as “hardy” are in fact more of a tender perennial not a true perennial. Sometimes they return the next year and sometimes they don’t. They are Chrysanthemum morifolium. Only the Igloo brand of mums which are the genus Dendranthemum are truly winter hardy to plant. The term garden mums is a more correct term that apply to Chrysanthemum morifolium and are used mainly for decorative purposes in fall.
  2. Inadequate watering especially during a dry fall will prevent either of the plant genera from getting established to return in spring.
  3. Cutting off the dead crown of either Igloos or chrysanthemum should be performed in early spring (about April 1st). The dead crown shields the live crown below from a constant freeze-thaw cycle that could cause death of the plant.
  4. Well-drained soil for especially chrysanthemums is a must to help the live crown return in spring.
  5. Chrysanthemums and Dendranthemums trimmed low no later than July 10th will help to create a more compact plant when the trimming is about 2-4 inches above the ground.
  6. Chrysanthemums are a short day plant which in the plant world is known as photoperiodism in which shorter day lengths in fall with cooler nights will signal the flower buds to start opening. Bloom time depends upon the variety.

In brief, there you have it. Happy mum planting and happy Mum Fest!