The Q&A Archives: Planting Canna Lilies

Question: I started some canna lilies from seed. Within a few weeks they have germinated. My question--should I plant them outside at this time of theyear-Oct. 14 or keep them indoors until spring? If I keep them indoors how do I keep them at a respectable height since my ceilings will not accomodate the plant size?

Answer: You have asked an interesting question. Cannas will not tolerate a northern winter so you can't plant them outdoors at this time of the year -- or leave them outdoors for the winter in the future, either. They also need good strong full sun and warm temperatures in order to grow their best, so trying to grow them indoors without a heated greenhouse would be difficult. I think I would suggest allowing them to slow down by exposing them to cooler temperatures and then storing the rhizomes over winter just as one would with the larger rhizomes one would dig from the garden each fall. Normally they would be hit by frost, then dug and allowed to dry off for a few days and then stored in paper bags or boxes of peat moss or a similar material in a location kept above freezing -- near forty five degrees is about ideal. Then they are restarted into growth in the spring either in pots for an early start or planted out when the soil has warmed.

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