The Q&A Archives: Cannas

Question: Last year, my cannas didn't bloom that well. The leaves looked badly eaten, brown and many times appeared undeveloped and unopened. This also prevented my flowers from consistently blooming. What would you suggest this year to ensure beautiful leaves and flowers that are everblooming. I don't want the problem to occur this year. I want to get ahead of the probleI have them placed in full sun.

Answer: Last year's leaf browning and lack of flowering was probably due to drought stress or overcrowding. Last summer was very hot and dry in this area. If cannas are stressed for water especially in July, while the flowers are forming the leaves will turn brown and the buds will abort. To get cannas to bloom, water them regularly. They like full sun and a well drained, humus soil that is consistently moist. Water the cannas so that the soil is moist to a depth of six inches every few days during hot, dry conditions. Another possibility is that the rhizomes are overcrowded. If the stalks are spindly, that's a sign of overcrowding. Actively growing cannas may need to be divided every three to four years. In spring, lift and divide the rhizomes, making sure each section has two to three eyes. Replant the sections, covering them with one inch of loose soil, and apply a complete fertilizer such as 10 10 10. Don't mulch the plants, however. If the rhizomes are buried too deeply underground, flowering can be limited. Hope this sheds some light on the problem!

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