Prepare your porch for the season's favorite blooms.
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There's something in the air—can you feel it? It's autumn, and it's on its way. When fall arrives each year, we find ourselves ready to bake a pie or two, wrap ourselves in cozy scarves, and decorate our porches with all things autumnal. Alongside those seasonal pumpkins and wreaths are always pots upon pots of bright blooms. In fall, one flower is king, and that's the chrysanthemum.

Chrysanthemums have long been a favorite flower in autumn. That's due to their blooms, which come in a spectrum of red, gold, and bronzy hues and can be counted on as a reliable source of garden color in the cooler months, when the rest of the summer flowers have begun to fade. While we never fail to pick up a pot or two at our local garden centers, we've also been left wondering: When is the perfect time to buy mums in fall?

The best time to purchase mums is after the height of summer swelter has well and fully passed. When the temperatures start to reliably and steadily drop—particularly when the night temperatures begin to sink—you know fall is here and it's time for mums. Mid-September is the earliest time you should consider buying mums. However, each year the longer and hotter summers are pushing that date later and later into September, even into the month of October.

As a rule, we at Southern Living recommend "buying plants as they start to break bud. You'll maximize bloom time. To find the color and type of flower you're after, check plant tags and cross-reference with already opened blooms. Garden centers usually group like selections together."

Another great tip SL has previously recommended: "What you see is what you get: Buy the bigger plant. Once buds start to open, you're pretty much guaranteed flowers―no matter where you display them. They'll be happiest in sun, but if you're planning to compost them once the show is over, it's fine to bend this rule." For more information on chrysanthemums, check out our Beginner's Guide to Mums,

Are chrysanthemums some of your favorite fall flowers? What pots are you putting on your porch this year?