The Plants to Alternate With Mums and Daffodils

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Daffodils (Narcissus spp.) are perennials that bloom in spring, with foliage that dies back gradually after the flowers fade. Hybrid mums (Chrysanthemum) generally bloom in late summer or early fall and include perennial garden varieties as well as plants that are sold in bud or bloom in the fall and are best used as annuals. In garden settings, alternate daffodils and mums with plants that flourish in the same sunny conditions with regular moisture and well-drained soil.

Spring

  • In spring daffodils bloom, while perennial mum foliage emerges from the ground. Plant small daffodils like 7-inch-tall "Minnow" (Narcissus "Minnow), hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9 in front of emerging mums. Alternate mums with larger daffodil varieties like double flowered "Irene Copeland" (Narcissus "Irene Copeland"), hardy in USDA zones 3 through 9. Alternate with "Bevan's Variety" big root geranium (Geranium macrorrhizum "Bevan's Variety"), hardy in USDA zones 3 through 8, whose dissected foliage complements both emerging mums and blooming daffodils and will later cover the daffodils' dying foliage.

Summer

  • In summer daffodil foliage has died away or been removed. Garden mums grow larger and the flowers' stems should be pinched back around Memorial Day and July Fourth to create bushier plants. Alternate with colorful, mounding plants like pale yellow "Creme Brulee" tickseed (Coreopsis "Creme Brulee"), hardy in USDA zones 5 through 9. The tickseed contrasts with the mum foliage and expands to cover the bare spots left by the daffodils. If it is sheared back after the initial flush of bloom, tickseed will rebloom once or twice more during the summer and early fall.

Fall

  • Mums come into their glory in late summer and early fall, blooming while daffodils are only a memory. Alternate or interplant mums with hardy asters like the "Monch" variety of Frikart's aster (Aster x frikartii "Monch"), hardy in USDA zones 5 through 10. The blue daisy-like flowers will complement almost any color and flower form of chrysanthemum and hide bare spots left by departed daffodils. "Monch" pairs especially well with "Hillside Sheffield Pink," sometimes known simply as "Sheffield Pink" (Chrysanthemum "Hillside Sheffield Pink") hardy in USDA zones 5 through 9 and featuring apricot pink daisies.

Container Gardens

  • Daffodils and chrysanthemums are well-suited to container culture and can be alternated in container plant borders or groupings. Large containers full of dormant daffodil bulbs can be overplanted with shallow-rooted dahlias for fall color. Pair or alternate a mum like purple and white "Color Echo" (Chrysanthemum "Color Echo"), hardy in USDA zones 4 through 9 with a small flowered collerette dahlia variety like "White Ballet" (Dahlia "White Ballet"), hardy in USDA zones 9 through 11. Deadheading the dahlia will prolong its season of bloom. Outside the dahlia's hardiness zone, lift and store the tubers in winter.

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