For most people, fall’s arrival means an oncoming onslaught of pumpkins and spooky ghost decorations — but for gardeners, it’s chrysanthemum season, when the potted plant’s vibrant blooms flood our front porches.
What’s the scoop?
In a viral Instagram video, Hamilton shows how you can save your mums from the trash by planting them in your garden instead.
It’s become something of a tradition for Hamilton. Every year, the day after Halloween — or once the winter frost has set in — she takes her container mums and plants them directly into the ground.
In the comments, she says that she only waters the plants once after she has replanted them, as they very quickly go dormant for the winter.
And if she doesn’t have any space in her flower beds at the end of fall, Hamilton plants the chrysanthemums in her raised flower beds, where they will last until spring, when she can rearrange the garden.
How much you need to prep your flower beds before planting depends on where you live. Hamilton lives in growing zone 6B, where she finds mums straightforward to replant.
Gardeners living in lower growing zones may want to consider mulching the bed first with 2-3 inches of leaf or straw, Hamilton suggests.
To make sure your mums flower around fall, ready to brighten up your doorstep again, Hamilton also recommends cutting them back by half in early July — this will make the plant bushier and delay its blooms until late summer or early autumn.
“The star of last year’s front porch becomes an absolute showstopper in this year’s landscape,” she said in a voiceover. “I don’t care if it said garden mum, hardy mum, or annual, I have successfully overwintered about 90% of my fall mums.”
How it’s helping
Chrysanthemums are traditionally, in the words of the Guardian, “designed to die,” creating needless waste and driving up costs for gardeners.
Rather than throw away money year after year on new pots of chrysanthemums, Hamilton’s hack is showing gardeners how to extend their mums’ life span, ready to repot and turn back into container plants the following year.
This circular approach to gardening will save you making more trips to the garden center — which will save you money and it helps to limit your carbon pollution from driving.
It’s a small boon for the fight against climate change, but making small adaptations like this can cumulatively go a long way.
What everyone’s saying
Hamilton’s followers are astounded by her gardening hack, with some chiming in with their own overwintering anecdotes.
“You are soooooo knowledgeable it just blows my mind!” one wrote.
“This works!” another added. “I’ve overwintered my front porch mums the past two seasons. Now, I’m ticked off I wasted all those mums the years before!”
“One year I bought a poinsettia for 25 cents from Walmart clearance section. I planted it outside after it started to die inside and it keeps coming back every year!” another commented.
Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.