The Q&A Archives: Canna Seeds

Question: This last spring I planted canna bulbs - someone gave them to me. These grew to be at least 12-15 feet tall, with red flowers. It is obvious they are spreading - new growth coming out of the ground everywhere - we are having a very mild November. Question 1) will the new growth be OK with winter coming - I am planning on cutting the tall growth back when they finally go dormat and mulching heavily and 2) the flowers went to seed and contain many jelly bean size seeds - can those seeds be planted next year?

Answer: Cannas are tuberous rooted perennials that are native to the tropics. They come in various heights, leaf colors and flower colors. They are quite tender and are usually dug and stored like glads for the winter. (Unless the person who gave them to you also grows them and leaves them in the ground. You may have a hardier variety that will survive in MO.) Dig and store the roots after the foliage withers and dies back. 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.

Yes, canna seeds should be scraped with a file or soaked in hot water to break their seed coat dormancy before sowing. Sow at temperature of 70 degrees F. It will probably take two years for them to flower. Good luck!

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