Greet guests at the door with this simple assortment of colorful mums.
Mums on Front Porch
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.

This season's perfect front porch decor is only minutes away. Pair painted terra-cotta pots with fiery-hued florists' chrysanthemums to create a hospitable entryway.

Easy Does It

Mums are abundant this time of year, come in many flower forms and plant sizes, and require little attention. Plus, they're available in a rainbow of colors from your local florist. We chose blooms that mimic autumn's classic hues--red, orange, and yellow--but you can work with any color that moves you.

Hot Picks

In the Coastal or Tropical South, you can also try other plants that evoke the sensation of fall, such as crotons or bromeliads. These houseplants echo the season's warm colors and are easy to care for. If you'd rather stray from the traditional autumn color palette, pair purple mums with rex begonias, and paint your containers to match (see directions at left). There's a never-ending array of choices for this easy, appealing project.

All that's left is to arrange your newly painted pots. Try a tiered effect by placing them on front porch stairs or by setting some on a bench, wagon, or table to add depth to the grouping.

Make It Last

The secret to great-looking mums is keeping them watered. Also, be sure to pinch off any spent flowers. After they've finished blooming, you can transplant these hardy perennials into your garden border for dependable color year after year.

Spice It Up

Add a kick to this simple combo by livening up the pots. Take a blossom from each mum to the store to find a quart of paint in a complementary color. For the pot makeover, all it takes is a coat of paint. Give the pots an hour of drying time before you move your mums into their new homes. Either transplant them directly, or drop the plastic containers in the painted pots. Mix-and-match flower and pot colors to complete the look.

This article is from the November 2005 issue of Southern Living.