Mum's the word if you’re looking for cheap and cheerful garden color this fall

Choose chrysanthemums this fall if you want an outdoor plant that keeps blooming through rain, hail, wind and snow

orange chrysanthemums in bloom
(Image credit: Tammi Mild/Getty Images)

Chrysanthemums are cool again, and now fall is in full swing, the trend has really taken off. You’ll find this retro favorite everywhere, blooming in pots on porches and adding the wow factor to overflowing window boxes.

When most other flowering plants have already died back ‘mums’ are one of the best fall flowers, adding a welcome pop of color during the fall months. 

'You can set them on your porch to add a welcome touch to anyone who sees them,' says Jen Stark, founder of gardening and DIY blog Happy DIY Home. 'The bold colors stand out nicely against the more muted autumn shades such as russet and brown.'

yellow chrysanthemums lining a garden path

(Image credit: Dobbies)

Alpha mums

First cultivated in China as a flowering herb – chrysanthemum tea is said to improve digestion and alleviate headaches – the ‘mum’ grows reliably across most zones of the USA and in Europe. Although they fell out of fashion, chrysanthemums are back in trend once more. 

'One of the biggest reasons chrysanthemums are so popular is because they have a reputation for symbolizing a long life, happiness, and joy,' says Jen. 

The National Chrysanthemum Society, USA has 13 official categories of ‘mums’, including stunning Pompons, feathery and delicate Quills and the breath-taking ball-shaped Reflex.

pink chrysanthemums in bloom

(Image credit: Future)

Perfect for a color pop

Chrysanthemums are a tough plant, making them the ideal option for gardens prone to harsh weather conditions. 

Plantsman Steven Dale, of Mowers and Yard Tools, says that this is one of the reasons why they offer good value for money and are perfect for budget backyard ideas: 'Chrysanthemums have a long blooming season, which means they will be in full bloom for a long period of time.'

If you opt for hardy garden mums (chrysanthemums morifolium), these are perennials, returning every year, once established in a garden.

mixed bunch of flowers containing chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums from Sarah Raven 

(Image credit: Sarah Raven)

Easy to grow

'Chrysanthemums are easy to grow because they have shallow roots and are easy to plant,' says master gardener Charlotte Ekker Wiggins, founder of Gardening Charlotte. 'If you happen to break off a branch you can also grow a new plant by rooting the cuttings in water.'

Mums are adaptable, work well with other long-flowering hardy plants and come in a range of colors to complement any garden color scheme including pure white, cheerful yellow, deep burgundies and purples and even soft lime green.

Charlotte adds that they also make a natural pest repellent, so you can use chrysanthemums to repel ants and other insects. 'Pyrethrins, the basis of most organic bug-deterring products, is basically natural pesticides found in chrysanthemums.'

Jayne Dowle
Freelance writer

Jayne Dowle is an award-winning gardening, homes and property writer who writes for publications including Sunday Times Home, Times Bricks & Mortar, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and The Spectator. She was awarded the Garden Journalist of the Year accolade at the Property Press Awards in 2021.