Beloved Perennial Beckons Pollinators

By Susan Albert | January 10, 2022
Image by DenKuvaiev
by Susan Albert
January 10, 2022

The oldest plant in my garden must be one that I brought with me when we moved three years ago. While some of my irises and daylilies are around 15 years old, my treasured white mum is at least that. 

I brought about 30 containers of perennials from my previous home. I didn’t take the whole clump, just a portion of each. I brought irises, daylilies, mums, amaryllis, hosta, chives, more daylilies, and more irises. Suffice it to say I brought a lot of irises and daylilies. 

I only brought a small piece of my white mum, but I knew it would expand quickly. When I planted the mum, it was one of those fancy ones with thin, white petals, but the next year it came back as its ancestor, with fuller, more daisy-like petals. I don’t always plant the fall mums that I buy, but I did that year. I planted it under my mailbox for some fall color. 

White Mum Care

My beloved perennial returned every year since then, and it became one of my favorites because it seemed to be a pollinator go-to. The last butterflies of the season would feast on its nectar. I would see buckeyes, sulphurs, bees, and skippers. 

I often shared it with friends and family. So, when I see it come into bloom in my new home, I have a fond feeling, like welcoming an old friend. I have it planted in as much sun as my backyard affords, and I pinch it back a couple times before July 4. I have a pink mum right next to it that also came with me in the move. 

I feel lucky it has come back for so long, because often when I plant mums, they tend to be short lived, only returning two or three years. I had a red, daisy mum that I just adored and was so disappointed when it decided to retire.

I also had a burgundy mum that returned about 8 years before it succumbed. I had shared that one with friends, too, as well as garden club plant sales. 

I don’t know how much longer the white mum will continue to come back, but I will enjoy it as long as it lasts. It seems happy in its new home and has expanded quickly, making a bountiful appearance each fall.

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  • Colleen
    Comment added May 2, 2022Reply

    I loved this article. Now I’ll be looking for a white mum this fall. I also appreciated learning that mums often last only a few years. That’s been my experience and I wondered if I’d been doing something wrong.

  • Jerome Brown
    Comment added April 1, 2022Reply

    I heard somewhere that in some Asian countries, white chrysanthemums are highly prized, I guess as a kind of artistic statement. Oh, I just read, the white mum is a symbol of loyalty and devoted love. Opera composer Puccini wrote an orchestral piece entitled _Chrysanthemums_.

  • Paula Welsh
    Comment added March 29, 2022Reply

    I had no idea that mums would come back, in our apt complex, my neighbor planted a rust colored & purple colored mum outside of her back steps, she has since moved, so for 3 years now in fall i cut old dry growth off, pile on some tree leaves on top like a winter blanket & in spring I see the re-emergence of green coming up from ground! last year it was waist high! smell great AND are great for cut flower vases, they get full sun, well drained soil, here in Albuquerque, NM soil pretty sandy but I don't do much more that coffee grounds, minced banana peel, & miracle grow. PS I don't have much of a green thumb, but mums sure make me look like I do! Ha Ha!

  • Merchan's Landscaping
    Comment added March 15, 2022Reply

    The mum was one of those fancy ones with thin, white petals when you planted it, but the next year it came back as its ancestor, with larger, more daisy-like petals.

  • Viola moedy
    Comment added February 12, 2022Reply

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.

  • Merchan's Landscaping
    Comment added February 1, 2022Reply

    Great white mum will return in the future thanks for sharing.

    • Violamowdy
      Comment added February 12, 2022Reply

      Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.

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