The garden mum (Chrysanthemum spp.) is a popular herbaceous perennial flowering plant that is commonly grown for fall sales. While also referred to as ‘hardy mums,’ their actual hardiness outdoors (that is, their ability to survive the winter) can vary by cultivar, time of planting, and environmental conditions. Garden mums are generally container-grown in Kentucky, either in a greenhouse or outdoors in connection with a greenhouse business; there is also some field production in the state.
Field-grown mums are limited to direct sales to the consumer since they are dug at the time of the sale. Container-grown plants, on the other hand, can be sold through garden centers, nurseries, landscapers, supermarkets, farm stores, roadside stands, farmers markets, and wholesale produce auctions. Retailers expect flowering garden mums to be available in mid- to late-August through mid-October. Early mums often receive a premium price. Producers can also explore opportunities for production of new or unusual mum varieties to differentiate their product in the local marketplace. A strong market exists for garden mums because garden centers desire an inexpensive flowering potted plant to accentuate fall landscape plant sales.
While most cultivars perform satisfactorily in Kentucky, certain types may perform better under some production conditions than others. Additionally, some cultivars are more desirable than others for early sales. Garden mum cultivars vary in plant size (from dwarf to very large), flower form (such as daisy-like, pompon, spider, spoon, and button), and flower color (various shades of yellow, pink, lavender, bronze, red, orange, salmon, and coral, as well as white). Select locally adapted varieties with the characteristics in demand for the intended market.