It's Mum Time!

September 10, 2013 - 15:24

Although it may not seem like it in Chicago (it is currently 92 degrees and rising), fall is just around the corner and winter is not too far behind. Temperatures will soon drop, if they haven’t already in some parts of the country, and gardeners will begin replacing their summer annuals with their fall favorite … mums!

While mums have been around for what seems like forever, breeders continue to introduce new and exciting colors, shapes and sizes to the popular category. Novel varieties are being added to existing collections and sharing garden space alongside their more traditional counterparts. So now more than ever there is a mum for any gardener.

If you’re located in the Northeast (or don’t mind a bit of traveling) and are interested in checking out how recent mum introductions are performing, there are three events coming up in New Jersey that you should add to your calendar!

Sept. 24 – Kube-Pak Open House: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. GroLink mum trials; cutting-edge fall solutions from PanAmerican Seed.

Speakers include Patricia Hastings, Rutgers University (Pesticide Handling Safety Tips) and Steve Rettke, Rutgers University (Using Biological Controls in the Greenhouse). Attendees will also be able to meet with GroLink mum product experts.

Sept. 24 – Ball for Fall at Lou Davino Greenhouses: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fall mum trials — including Ball mums, innovative fall crops — annuals, perennials, ornamentals.

Speakers include Tom Contrisciano, PanAmerican Seed (Mum Pals: Buddy Up to Expanding Your Fall Sales) and Ed Higgins, Ball Seed (Selecting & Growing the Best New Garden Mums).

Sept. 25 – Yoder Mums at Lucas Greenhouses: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Yoder mum trials; visit with technical experts.

Tours will be led by mum breeder Mark Smith, who will answer questions about the best selections for your crop and 2014 introductions preview.

There will also be a Mum Town Hall Meeting on Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. at the Hampton Inn located at 2134 W. Landis Ave., Vineland, N.J. This may just be the most collective mum knowledge ever in one room at the same time. Experts Bernard Chodyla (GroLink), Ed Higgins (Ball Seed) and Mark Smith (Syngenta-Yoder) will bring decades of experience to the table for a lively discussion. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions, share tips and learn about the latest new mum intros.

While on the topic, I can’t discuss mums without sharing some of my favorite recent introductions:

‘Antica Bronze’ (GroLink)

This new Belgian mum boasts a beautiful dark bronze color and is adaptable to any size container. Ideal for early October sales, it has an excellent shelf life.

‘Durango Yellow’ (Syngenta Flowers-Yoder)

An improved pot mum, ‘Durango Yellow' has decorative, eye-catching flowers and can be mixed and matched across the Durango family for fall combinations.

‘Starburst White’ (Ball)

A mid-season garden mum, ‘Starburst White’ blooms in summer, late summer and autumn. It features a nice mounded habit and decorative flower form.

If you grow mums, your production is probably in full swing right now. So, tell me about it! How are sales? Are there any types of varieties getting more attention than others? Shoot me an e-mail at jdolce@sgcmail.com; I’d love to hear your story.

— Jasmina

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