Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Better Homes and Gardens Recommends Hardy Mums for Autumn Color

'Sheffield Pink'

Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, in the October 2018 issue, published a wonderful article on Hardy Mums. BHG.com is a fine source for garden info! I was delighted to see that the variety 'Sheffield Pink' was included in the lineup.

'Sheffield Pink' - aka 'Hillside Sheffield Pink' and 'Single Apricot' - is not one of those bloomin' mounds you see offered at so many garden shops and 'big box' stores this time of year. It is, in fact, a stunning perennial more like the carefree, heirloom mums you'd see in grandmother's garden.

There are hundreds of chrysanthemum flower types, sizes, colors and habits. Some, like the show quality types, can be tender and difficult to grow. Others are quite hardy and simple. Most gardeners stick to the hardy types, and that's what you should do. Why work so hard when you don't have to?

The name, Chrysanthemum, was given by Carolus Linnaeus sometime in the 17th century. As with many plants, taxonomists seem always to be trying to sort out matters. So the genus has been split into two or more, and species have been added and shifted between genera. Some of those genera include Arctanthemum, Argyranthemum, Dendanthrema, Glebionis, Leucanthemopsis, Leucanthemum, Rhodanthemum, and Tanacetum. 'Sheffield Pink' is labeled as Dendanthrema about as often as Chryanthemum, so don't let the name confuse you.

'Sheffield Pink' thrives in USDA climate zones 5 to 9. If you live in one of those zones - most of us do - you're in luck! 'Sheffield Pink' should thrive for you.

'Sheffield Pink' requires at least 5 hours of full sun per day, particularly during the morning, because humidity and lingering moisture can encourage mildew. For the same reason, good air circulation and soil drainage are essential.

Choose a site with average, well-drained garden soil with pH ranging from 5.6 to 7.5. Take a soil sample to your nearest Cooperative Extension Office for analysis. You will be charged a nominal fee. Follow the recommendations you'll receive.

It is best to plant 'Sheffield Pink' in spring or fall about 6 weeks before hot or freezing weather commences. Can it be planted any other time of year? Certainly! Just make sure you can provide sufficient water if you choose to plant during summer. Even though it is drought-tolerant when established, don't take off on vacation and leave your newly planted perennials at the mercy of the weather.

If soil is compacted, prepare the planting bed by cultivating at least 8 inches deep, removing all traces of weeds.  If the soil is high in organic matter and friable, it may not require cultivation.  Compost may be incorporated into the soil, if necessary.  Incorporate 10-10-10 fertilizer at a rate of no more 2 lbs. per 100 square feet into the top 4 inches to 6 inches of soil. Avoid synthetic fertilizers contacting any part of your plants.

Space the plants between 18 inches to 24 inches apart. Dig planting holes into the cultivated soil a little less deep than the depth of the growing container. Place the plants into the holes and back-fill, watering as you go. Press soil around the root balls. Do not cover entirely the root balls with soil. The tops should be slightly exposed. Add a top-dressing of mulch around the plants, not on top of them, about 1 inch deep.

After a few years, 'Sheffield Pink' should be divided. In spring, when danger of frost is past, dig the clumps and cut or pull them apart. Older, worn out parts should be cut off and discarded. Incorporate organic matter into the soil. Plant the renovated clumps at the same level they grew before. Water them in, and add mulch. A little renovation every 3 to 5 years will reward you with many seasons of pleasure.

In addition to its beauty, 'Sheffield Pink' is a wonderful addition to the butterfly garden! 

If you've grown 'Sheffield Pink' or any other hardy mum, we'd love to hear from you. How has it performed for you? Do you have pictures you'd like to share with us? Please let us know in the comment section below.

If you'd like to read more about hardy mums, check out our other blog post - How To Grow Hardy Chrysanthemums in Your Yard.

Return to 'Sheffield Pink' at goGardenNow.com.

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