Well, the evaluation has taken place. Early last August, I purchased 36 potted mums, two varieties that are supposed to be hardy in our Zone 5 area, and planted them strategically in the gardens. I wanted to get them in early so they’d have longer to get established and have a better chance to survive over the winter. All of the plants were mulched after planting. When the season ended, half the mums were trimmed and half were left intact, some in each garden and some of each variety for test purposes. I’ve heard that untrimmed mums winter and return better than those that are trimmed. I’d really rather not to have to purchase 36 mums again, so even though I prefer tidy gardens I was willing to leave some ugliness if it resulted in major cost-savings.
Overall, we had a fairly mild winter, although a wet one. We did have one period of temperature plunge into the low teens, without the usual snow-cover to temper it, which is hard on plants. I’d guess we had about the normal amount of freeze-thaw action. So here’s the count…drum rolls and trumpets, please…….
Untrimmed mums alive and showing new growth…0 (Yes, that’s zero, nada, zilch.) This is typical of all the mums that were left untrimmed. Dead…..dead….dead.
Trimmed mums alive and showing new growth….1! Just ONE!
It’s just beginning to grow.
What a sad outcome. Neither method was truly successful, so I’ll probably repeat the trial next autumn. Looks like I’ll be purchasing 36 mums again for fall. I’m hoping to get them even earlier and into the ground before they get pot-bound, and I’ll try to find different, hardier varieties. In the meantime, I’m waiting a bit longer before pulling them out just in case any of the others begin to show life, but I’m not holding my breath in hope. I am trimming them all. They’ve been adding “ugly” to the garden long enough, and my new motto is “If it’s adding to the ugly, and not the beauty, off or out it goes.”
Did your mums return? Did you trim them or not? I’d be interested in hearing other results. Herbal blessings, Carolee