The Q&A Archives: Cannas

Question: I am asking you when to remove canna bulbs. They kept growing and growing and still blooms with red beautiful flowers. It was my first experience and the bulbs were given to me by my friend last spring. Its unbelieveable they kept grew to six feet tall, behind the retaining wall and near my swimming pool. So I thought since its fall and close to winter, I wanted to know when to take bulbs out or leave in the ground like I do to others. Its my first time with cannas. They have very large rubber-like leaves as if they are tropical rubber plants. Id appreciated hearing on your advice.

Answer: Cannas need to be lifted for the winter. Cannas are tuberous rooted perennials that are native to
the tropics. There are dwarf varieties that grow about two
feet tall, and tall varieties that grow 3-6 feet tall or occasionally even taller. Cannas are quite tender
and you should dig and store the roots after the foliage
withers and dies back. (Frost will blacken the tops and then it will be time.) Shake the excess soil off the roots
and store them in dry sand, peatmoss or sawdust. The roots
will be dormant and won't require water, but should be
protected from complete dessication. Check the stored
roots during the winter and add a little moisture to the
peatmoss if the roots begin to shrink or shrivel up. You can
store them in a garage or cool, dark basement or wherever
the temperature is above freezing, but below average
household temperatures. Plant them in rich, moist soil in the
spring and they'll bloom again next summer.

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