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Plant chrysanthemums for fall color

By Susie Hovater Malone / For the FCT

Finally – fall is just around the corner! It’s time to start planting those fall plants.

The Cultura Garden Club members kicked off their annual Fall Mum Fundraiser Aug. 22, and it will run through Sept. 8. McGee Farm has been committed to assisting our fundraising efforts for several years, and your continued support of this fundraiser assists our beautification projects in downtown Russellville.

The chrysanthemums, or mums, that we are selling come in five colors: yellow, white, red, purple and bronze. They are planted in two-gallon pots – very healthy and beautiful plants.

The cost is $12.

You can enjoy these mums on your porch or in your yard for decorations through the autumn season.  They also make great gifts.

Debbie Nale is president of the Cultura Garden Club, and she will coordinate club projects for the next two years. Debra Spillers is serving as chair of the Fall Mum Fundraiser.

Chrysanthemums are native to East Asia and northeastern Europe. The chrysanthemum symbolizes fidelity, optimism, joy and long life.

Chrysanthemum colors also have symbolism.

The beautiful yellow chrysanthemum flower is a token of strength from the universe. Furthermore, it indicates you are ready to face any challenge that comes your way.

A red chrysanthemum means happy life. Red is associated with lovepassion and desire, but the meaning changes with the chrysanthemum flower. The red chrysanthemum flower reveals that your life is full of happiness and joy, and you are grateful for what you have.

The purple chrysanthemum flower can be given to sick people as a sign of comfort and a “get well soon” message.

The white chrysanthemum flower indicates the presence of spirits, angels or your late loved ones.

In the spiritual world, the orange or bronze chrysanthemum exudes confidence and encourages people to stick to their convictions – even in the face of contradictions.

Growing mums do well if they are planted in well-drained, evenly moist soil; however, the plants will quickly rot if they are too wet.

For best results, plant mums in full sun, which will ensure a high bud count. Although some varieties will tolerate part shade, too much shade will cause weak stem growth and decreased blooms. Plus, there’s a greater risk of foliar fungus issues and root rot if not planted in full sun.

After a few weeks, the chrysanthemum seedlings are pinched to make them bushy.

Mums are considered heavy feeders, and it is a good idea to give them supplemental fertilizer throughout the growing season – especially if you’re growing them in pots. Fertilize when the plants are ready for blooming and discontinue fertilizing after flower buds are formed.

A careful check should be made to detect diseases or insects/pests, and prompt control measures should be adopted to control them.

Faded chrysanthemum blooms should be removed regularly to help prolong flowering.

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