For our example, let's use a Belgian Mum that has a bloom time of mid-September. Before ordering, you need to know your local market time. Some regions sell more in early September. Other areas have late October and early November buyers. This time frame could vary depending on your zone, or other cultural or environmental attributes.
Even tradition may factor into when the local families in your area start looking for some fall color. (Does your town have a fall festival or craft show where lots of people come to buy decorations?) No matter when it is, you need to know that peak time. Once you choose that date, you can do some calculations that will back you up to your order time.
The first step in making your calculations is knowing what size finished container you want. The most standard size is an 8" mum pan, but you can grow mums in a one-gallon or even a three-gallon container. If you want to grow different sized containers, you will put one plant in an 8" pot and three plants per pot in a three-gallon. Whether you decide to mix colors or do all the same color, it doesn't matter. Raising the ratio of plants to pot based on the increasing diameter will ensure they all look full or finish at the same time.
Once you know your pot size, you will want to give your plants time to grow double the diameter of the pot. For example, an 8" pot will grow a 16" mum. Belgian mums grow, on average, an inch and a half per week. So in 10 to 11 weeks, you'll have a finished product.
Since their bloom time is bred into their genetics, they will bloom in mid-September (or whenever your light is right) whether they are an inch tall or 15 inches tall. The only thing you have to worry about is getting them planted early enough to grow them to the right size before they bloom.
Here's an example:
- You calculate your peak garden mum sales time to be in mid-September, around week 38.
- Pick varieties that bloom during the desired time. (This page on our website will auto-sort Belgian Mums for you by bloom time.)
- You plan to sell the mums in 8" mum pans.
- The mums will need to grow out to 16" to make a full, finished product.
- Since Belgian mums grow an inch and a half per week, you decide you need 10 to 11 weeks to finish them out.
- You count back and realize you want to order your mums to arrive on week 28, or around July 9th.