I'm absolutely the worst when it comes to this time of year because I'm so totally head over heels in love with mums. I actually have to go out of my way to avoid going to stores that sell mums because I want to buy all the mums which is fine, except that it's simply too early to buy them and expect that they'll last longer than a week or two.

Through research, conversation, and visits to my mum dealer (yes, I have a mum dealer), I've learned a whole lot about the plant that I love, including which mums are the best to buy this early on in the fall season.

If you just can't wait and will be mum shopping this weekend, try to buy ones that haven't "blossomed" all the way yet. Full bloomed mums are so pretty, but if you want your mums to last until Thanksgiving or even longer, pick up ones that aren't full yet.

A lot of people buy perennial mums, plant them, and then are upset when they don't come up the next year. Not always, but more often than not, the reason they don't come up is that this late in the growing season, mums won't have the time they need to establish roots before the winter freeze sets in. If you want fall mums, your best bet is to plant mum seeds in the spring so that the flower has enough time to get situated and establish strong roots.

Mums love the cooler weather and don’t like hot weather so much. The temperatures we're expecting this weekend aren't a friend of mums. When the weather is in the upper 70s and 80s, mums tend to wilt and turn brown, so try to wait until the temperatures have totally cooled off for the season before buying them.

Mums love sunshine, so if you live in a shaded place, mums might not be the plant for you and that's sad. If you live in a place that gets a bunch of sunshine, just remember that for as much as mums like the sun, they also love water which means you should water them regularly. Don't drown them, but keep their soil moist.  Another tip to keeping your mums beautiful is to dead-head them when the flower part starts to turn brown or wilt. If you cut that part off, you'll prevent deadness from spreading to the healthy blooms.

If you've got mums that come up every year and they're looking a little dingy- did you remember to cut them back a little?  Mums need to be cut back a little bit from time to time to help them fill out even more in the fall, but don't do it now because it's too late- just memory bank that you should cut your mums back before July of next year.

[via Helpful Gardner]