Along the Garden Path: Mums vs. asters


Fall is here and now that the kids are back in school, the days are getting shorter; we have football games to go to.

The mornings are starting to get cooler; the apples are ready for harvest for some great applesauce, dumplings and pies. The pumpkins are ripe on the vine and we’re starting to see scarecrows appear from their slumber.

At our house, containers of applesauce have been made for the winter and now look forward to creating some fall creations outside. Most of the perennials have been cut back with the exception of the grasses that we like to keep for shelter for the birds during the winter.

The summer pinks have been replaced with fall colors of oranges, creams, and dark burgundy. We have been to The Aultman Farms on Horatio-Harris Creek Road for our favorite pumpkins to add to the fall landscape.

The pumpkins add so much to the look of autumn in your garden or home and coordinate with any color scheme.

Mums and asters are synonymous with fall flower gardens. Late summer rolls around and these show stoppers begin to trickle into garden centers. By the first day of fall there are enough options available in a rainbow of colors until winter comes to end the party.

Mums species are available in an array of colors, shapes and sizes. Keep in mind that fall-planted mums may not survive the winter since their roots haven’t had a chance to get established, but since mums are relatively inexpensive you can treat them as annuals and replace.

Asters perform best in six or more hours of sunlight. They should be planted in moist, well-drained soil of average fertility. Mums and asters can be used in conjunction with one another as the mums tend toward warmer colors and asters toward cooler colors, they make a nice contrast. Another contract is in their growth habits. Mums tend to have a more manicured look while asters have a wild appearance. Mums provide the color tones of autumn which work nicely with a harvest display and plantings like we are doing now. Asters are a huge boost for late-season nectar feeders that have yet to migrate or may be passing through.

Including mums and asters in your perennial landscape is an easy way to extend the flower season through fall.

By Charlene Thornhill

Along the Garden Path

Charlene Thornhill is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her community column Along the Garden Path. She can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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