learning to love another mum: ‘sheffield pink’

sheffield pink mumANOTHER MUM IS TRYING TO WOO ME. This time it’s someone a lot less brash than my longtime one-and-only, but despite the quieter demeanor, it’s starting to grow on me. What do you think of ladylike ‘Sheffield Pink’ (or just plain ‘Sheffield,’ as it’s also called)?

‘Sheffield Pink’ has 3-inch-wide, pastel-pink blooms in October here, lasting a month or longer, and though the catalogs all describe them as “apricot-pink,” I don’t see any hint of orange in its blush. The plant will grow from about 2½ to 3 feet, and as with any garden mum will perform best if divided regularly and flower most prolifically if pinched once or twice. The routine:

When the first signs of growth appear in spring (May for me), dig the old plants and toss the oldest, woody bits, replanting vigorous divisions 18 inches apart. Note: There will be far more than you can use, especially if you haven’t divided in awhile.

Once the transplanted divisions settle in and get to about 6 inches high, around June here, pinch off (with fingers or a pruning shears) about ½ inch of topgrowth from the terminal point, repeating after another 6 inches or so of new growth is produced. This will encourage bushier plants. If you like a looser mum, pinch just once, and in either case don’t pinch after about mid-July (the approximate time here when buds set in earnest).

I know, I know; ‘Sheffield Pink’ isn’t ‘Will’s Wonderful,’ but for now it has this other detail to recommend it: ‘Sheffield Pink’ is available, while ‘Will’ is looking for a new mail-order home. Find ‘Sheffield Pink’ at Bluestone or Lazy S’s; stay tuned about where to find ‘Will’ perhaps in the coming spring. (UPDATE: Lazy S’s has ‘Will’ for sale now.)

  1. Johanna says:

    Very ladylike, isn’t she? I like the “daisy” style mums best — not so much fru-fru stuff going on. Still, I hope Will finds a new home. He’s quite bold!

  2. Laura says:

    Hi Margaret – Your post is perfectly-timed, the first blooms on my Will’s Wonderful started opening yesterday! I purchased them last spring based on your advice, and have them paired with some amsonia for a lovely fall combo. They are planted near my koi pond which I am visiting regularly to scoop out the falling leaves, so in a good spot for fall viewing. Unfortunately this morning we had a small mishap – while scooping the leaves and admiring my Will’s Wonderful and feeling very proud of myself – sunglasses fell off my head into the pond. They don’t seem to float. Oh well.

  3. In my zone 10b climate here in southern California I get 3, sometimes 4, blooms a year out my chrysanthemums -which have been chugging along now in my perennial border for 8 years (repeatedly making me happy throughout the year). Because I garden organically I can even put the blossoms into salads, as they are edible. After each bloom, I whack them back and forget about them until -Voila’, there they are blooming again. Nifty.

  4. Clare Beelman says:

    Hi Margaret–
    I stumbled onto your blog about two weeks ago and since then, I have thoroughly enjoyed “catching up” on your posts and gorgeous photos. I’ve been inspired and comforted by the love of plants and nurturing one’s home environment here at A Way to Garden!
    Although I am moving from my first house and garden (this week!), I have been psyched to see my first two mums blooming away for the past month.
    I have never particularly been a fan of the dense ball of homogeneity (ouch!) that seems to be most garden mums. However, when I stumbled onto this pale pink-apricot Korean mum: http://www.nichegardens.com/catalog/item.php?id=1216 (at Niche Gardens). I was smitten!
    It appears that this mum might be the same as your ‘Sheffield Pink’ cultivar. What do you think?

    The second mum I have loved is another one I purchased from Niche, which is a true (noticeable) apricot color and is more tightly branched: http://www.nichegardens.com/catalog/item.php?id=2293.
    Thanks for sharing your observations and love of gardening!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Joseph. I didn’t see that post but will go look, thanks. I am getting to like it more, too. :) Nice of you to point it out; don’t be a stranger.

      Welcome, Clare. I haven’t been to Niche Gardens in so many years; I must reconnect with them. Great reminders. The pink one looks very similar (maybe the petals are a little thicker than mine) if not the same; the apricot is lovely. Hope to see you soon again here, and thanks again.

  5. catjane says:

    I love this mum; I’ve had it for several years. In its first location it spread a bit too enthusiastically, but now it has room to roam among ornamental grasses. I really just leave it be and enjoy those lovely flowers.

  6. Todd says:

    Hi Margaret, I to have my own secret love affair with mum’s.
    I know many gardeners and plantsmen cringe at the thought of having mums in their gardens, but I love their cheery blooms at this time of year.
    Even better is the aster “Jindai”. I planted drifts of them this past spring, and now their late fall blooms are just melting me.

  7. boodely says:

    Lovely and subtle. Looks like a good match for the winey-rust colors we’ve been getting this Fall. Last year was so much brighter – each year a different mood and a different mum.

  8. lindajean says:

    In my garden in central NY where the soil is on the alkaline side of things, this mum blooms late but is apricot pink (fading to a paler pink) and absolutely gorgeous against the dark leaves of oak leaf hydangeas, etc.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Lindajean. Sounds like a great combination…someone here may be relocating next to someone else, thanks to you. :) See you soon again.

  9. Mary Ellen says:

    I too have this mum and love it. But, crazy question mayhaps: It seeded itself in throughout the bed, which I happily (or lazily) allowed, and the blooms of the volunteers are different shades. One is a delightful purpley pink, another is quite yellow, and still another is red-orangey yellow. Is that normal? I love it, but no one ever mentioned it would do that. Quite a pleasant surprise.

    1. Margaret says:

      @Mary Ellen: I don’t know the background of this specific variety genetically, but many plants don’t come true from seed (hybrids in particular) or have a variable range of color and therefore have to be propagated vegetatively for consistent results (or grown from seed and then the seedlings selected among when they start to bloom the first time). Mums are generally grown from divisions or cuttings.

      Welcome, LLu. I am determined to figure out how to share ‘Will’ in the spring if it isn’t in the trade again by then, so stay tuned… I am also impressed with how long-lasting ‘Sheffield Pink’ is as a cut flower. Wow. Nice to see you here, and hope to again soon.

  10. LLu says:

    I don’t think I have another pink in my garden (N. Indiana), but I love the drifts of Sheffield Pink against the yellows and browns of grasses in my late fall, punctuated by reds and yellows of falling leaves. And the flowers last forever in a vase–I’ve had a bunch in a mug by my computer all week! Not to say I wouldn’t love a chance to get hold of Will’s Wonderful in the spring…

    Love your site, Margaret

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Anne. Yes, I think they look somewhat similar but supposedly ‘Sheffield’ is taller than ‘Clara,’ like 2 or 2 1/2 feet instead of just over a foot. Probably ‘Clara’ would be better stature in many situations; great reminder, thank you. See you soon!

  11. Fred from Loudonville, NY says:

    There are wine snobs, and food snobs, BUT, I am a MUM SNOB! As nice as Sheffield Pink looks, I think the only MUM worth buying is of the “SILK VARIETY”. That’s right, I like silk ones over the real thing, when it comes to fall flowers. My next door neighbors, and I both have urns with mums in them, on our stacked stone retaining walls. Their’s are the REAL thing, where mine are FAKE. When they got their mums they were tight budded, and looked nice for a few weeks, now they looking tired. My silk mums, and silk fall leaves, COMPLIMENTS of Wal Mart, and the BUCK store are looking Bright, and FRESH as a daisy, and will look that way until I replace them with evergreen boughs. Mums on the whole are just TOO common, and are OVERLY USED. If I am planting something for fall interest, it is the Flowering Kale. The Kale looks good for a long time, I have had them up to Christmas in past years.

  12. janet says:

    Sheffield is a beaut– and Will is far from bashful, but I think my favorite “mum” currently is ‘Gethesamane Moonlight’– single daisies bathed in the most luscious pale yellow that seems to glow from some inner light. it is just gorgeous … and just starting to bloom for me in Washington. lovely next to the royal blue of Salvia guaranitica and Helianthus salicifolius ‘Mellow Yellow’….throw in Oxydendron arboreum’s brilliant red foliage and ….well, it doesn’t get much better!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Janet, with tales of so many beautiful plants; a pretty picture you paint indeed. I am going off now to look up ‘Gethsamane Moonlight,’ and I will blame you if another mum is in my future. :) See you soon, I hope.

  13. Carol says:

    I grow 2 hardy mum’s 1- Venus and 2- Mei Kyo. Both are hardy in my zone 5b garden (Pittsburgh PA). Venus is so pretty, and the last flower to bloom in my garden. It’s been flowering all of October and will continue until we get a really hard frost. Mei Kyo is “dwarf” compared to most mums. I’ve given divisions to many friends, and from a little 2 inch plug (from Andre Viette nursery- a “freebie” thrown in with my plant order years ago) it makes a great ground cover for sunny and somewhat dry area. Here’s a great link to a Fine Gardening article on hardy mums. http://www.finegardening.com/plants/articles/not-your-average-mums.aspx

  14. Joshua says:

    I have both Sheffield and Clara Curtis in my garden here in CT. The Sheffield is always the last of the mums to bloom, and it starts a beautiful apricot here fading to almost white. I actually prefer it to Clara, as for me it is less invasive (Clara spreads like wildfire and if not pinched consistantly, blooms in July for me), and the foliage is probably the best I have seen for mums. With all the vibrant colors of the fall season, I would not be without Sheffield’s softer side!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Joshua. I am glad for the comparison of the two from your first-hand account, thank you; I love how you describe “Sheffield’s softer side,” too. Hope to see you again here soon; don’t be a stranger.

  15. Warren says:

    This Sheffield Pink reminds me of a mum that was on display at the botanical gardens @ Cornell University. The mum was almost apricot and luxurious. Being on a parent weekend visit I stuffed the name in my jacket but lost it . I hope this will be the perfect soultion for that evasive mum memory I had wanted to seek out but never did.

  16. Rachel says:

    I have Sheffield growing in zone 5 and it blooms well past frost (late November) and continues to attract honey bees and other pollen lovers starved for flowers at this time. I’m hoping these creatures make it through winter with help from my Sheffield. Love it!

  17. Dolores Boule says:

    I love this pale pink daisy, also.
    Our Mass. PowerOutage/wet snowstorm pretty much
    finished them with heavy, wet snow.

    1. Margaret says:

      Here, too, Dolores. Smashed flat. Along with all my many ornamental grasses — have never been without them going into winter!

  18. Carole says:

    Someone planted me a pink mum and I think it must be Sheffield. When it bloomed I went nuts. It is perrrrrfect next to sedum. So I want to do more of them. But on the potted mum issue……I buy from a real family garden center, asters and mums, and am hoping that some will grow. They inisist the asters will for sure….giving it a try….any thoughts on how to improve the chances?

  19. Liz Reed says:

    I think the mum which I have been passing around for years, and was originally passed to me by my mom, (mum), is Sheffield Pink. But, I also find that it changes color depending on soil . I’ve put divisions in clients gardens where it becomes a very pale yellow. My own plants were originally a deep apricot, but every year get paler and paler. Right now they are blooming, , and flopping a bit from the rains- in pure white!
    Thankyou for the Fine Gardening link, Carol!
    Liz–Also from Pittsburgh

    1. margaret says:

      Hi, Liz. I wish I knew the answer. I have seen this change, too, sometimes…and I must write to one of the big mum growers (commercial breeder types who wolesale etc.) and see if I can get an definitive reply.

  20. Bennie Catoe says:

    Margaret, I have grown Sheffield Pink for about 7 years. I love it. Here in North Carolina it starts blooming about the first of October and still looks wonderful. Great cut flower and the fragrance is amazing. Little care and great results.

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