How To Plant Chrysanthemums That Last

Question From: R. McMurry - El Dorado, Arkansas, United States
Q: I have a large planter in the yard that is in full sun for 6+ hours daily. The soil is 66% cheap top soil and 33% cheap manure. Is this good for mums? I have planted big(3-5 gal.) mums that do not live but a few weeks.

A: Richard, The mums you buy in fall in those 3 to 5 gallon pots are grown as throw aways. They are pot bound, over fertilized, and will never have time to become established before winter arrives regardless of what soil you plant them in. The time to buy perennial mums is in spring - tiny 4 inch plants you pinch back so the don't bloom but spend their time establishing roots. Your choice of soil is not recommended for containers, but if it works for summer blooms - as they say, if it ain't broke don't fix it. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy.