Low Maintenance Plant: Mums & Kale

Low Maintenance Plant: Mums & Kale

Consider adding a low maintenance mums & kale to your outdoor containers. 

The end of the growing season has all of us trying to pack as much enjoyment and beauty as possible into the last days of fall. So in keeping with this mad rush, we are featuring two not just one low maintenance plants this month.

Let’s start with mums. Sometimes referred to as the “last smile of the departing season”, these fall beauties come in a wide range of colors and provide weeks of floral beauty. Mums are great in the garden and wonderful as cut flowers in floral arrangements. Fall just wouldn’t be the same without them.

Use garden mums in containers, to fill vacant spaces in the garden or anywhere a bit of color is needed. Check containers daily and water thoroughly as needed. Check plants set in the ground often. Their small root system will dry out more quickly than the surrounding plants that have spent the growing season developing roots.

Fall planted mums expend most of their energy producing flowers instead of roots to help them through the winter. Enjoy the fall floral display and if they return in spring you are a spectacular gardener. If not, you planned on growing them as a fall annual.

Increase your overwintering success by planting mums in spring. Allow the plants to stand for winter and cut them back in early spring as new growth emerges.

Mums At a Glance
Name: Mum (Chrusanthemum morifolium or Dendranthemum x grandiflorum)
Size: 1 to 3 feet tall and wide, size varies with variety and grooming
Light: Full sun
Water: Thoroughly whenever top few inches of soil are crumbly and slightly moist, check container plants daily and water thoroughly as needed
Soil: Moist well-drained soil

Edible and ornamental kale are both popular plants that are perfect for fall containers and gardens. The color and texture of kale blends nicely with mums, asters, ornamental grasses, peppers and other fall favorites.

Use kale as a vertical accent in containers, as part of a fall garden display or as a filler in the garden. This plant flourishes in the cooler temperatures of fall and will tolerate frost. Established plants can even tolerate temperatures down in the single digits.

Although ornamental kale is edible you will get the best flavor from varieties sold for their edibility not their beauty. Redbor and a few other edible kales are both beautiful and tasty. Check the label to be sure you get the look and flavor you desire.

 

Written by, gardening expert, Melinda Myers.  Each month Melinda will feature a low maintenance plant perfect for beginning and experienced gardeners looking for attractive easy care plants.  Melinda Myers is a nationally recognized gardening expert with more than 30 years of horticulture experience.  She is a wealth of knowledge and we are pleased to share Melinda’s Low Maintenance Plant of the Month with you!