5 Uses for garden mums around your house

September heralds in autumn with garden chrysanthemums, also called mums, just starting to bloom as other flowering plants are fading away. The blooms of mums burst in autumnal colors such as purple, yellow, burgundy or orange. Mums are also available in creamy white blooms. Garden mums are cold hardy in USDA planting zones 5a through 9b. In those areas, you can plant the mum while it's blooming. You will be rewarded with repeat blooms the following autumn. Mums are a versatile plant, but how can you use them around the house?

At the entrance to your home

Transplant the mum or simply drop the garden center container mum directly into a decorative container. A basket is suitable flower container; just protect the interior of the basket with a sheet of plastic, like a garbage bag. Set a single mum plant on each step of a wide stairway. Set a grouping at the base of the entryway. Go with all one color or set even mixtures on each side of the door like two orange blooming mums and one yellow blooming mum to make a group. Mix mums with other autumn outdoor decorations such as pumpkins or witch's broom. Stagger the height of the plants by placing one on bricks or other object (like an overturned bucket) and then surround the raised plant with more mums.

Line them up

Plant mums directly in the ground such as along the sidewalk or driveway. Plant all one color or go wild with multiple colors or use waves of colors. With minimal extra effort, you can take clippings from a mum plant in the spring to mid-summer to create new plants. I planted a border of mums along a fence with only five mums. Each year, I started new plants from cuttings to extend the coverage along the fence. The same cuttings can be placed in pots to create on-demand bloom power!

Window boxes

Set the potted mums into an empty window box so the top of the mum pot is just below the edge of the window box. Use rocks if necessary to lift the mum pots. Alternatively, you can plant the mums directly into the window boxes. Tuck evergreen ivy or sweet alyssum between the mum plants if some filler or downward greenery is desired.

In the landscape

Plant groupings of three to five plants in empty areas of the landscape or around solitary objects like a mailbox, lamp post or tree. Space them so the outreaching stems barely touch. As the plants grow, they will fill in. The light colors of yellow and white mums stand out in any landscape design. The darker colors of mums contrast well against light backgrounds like a house, patio, balcony or pool. Don't forget the garage. Set a grouping of mums on either side of the garage door.

Indoors

Garden mums can enjoy a short stay indoors but are better left outside. But do bring them indoors for a special event. Or take clippings from an outdoor mum plant to place in small vases at each table setting or on a bedside table.