Comment concerning Canna Lily (Canna Tropicanna®): Overwintering Canna in zone 6A

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As a comment about Canna Lily (Canna Tropicanna®), eclayne wrote:

Last year was my first successfully overwintering Canna. After digging in late October, removing soil and storing dry (like my Callas), I heard from Gardenersdetective and JuliaNY that leaving the soil on and keeping them moist but not wet was crucial to successful overwintering. I promptly potted them in plastic boxes, no drainage and kept them slightly moist throughout the winter. In the basement at ~55F with two bulkhead windows. They all continued to actively grow throughout the winter and I cut back the foliage about once a month. By early May their leaf production went through the roof so I planted them out in the garden in mid-May, my usual time for most tropicals. All have done well, but Tropicanna and 'City of Portland' particularly so.
Name: Glenn
Chippewa, PA (Zone 6a)
Region: Pennsylvania Organic Gardener Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Composter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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vbprog
Nov 14, 2014 7:30 AM CST
@eclayne - This comment is going to be my working document to overwintering a canna plant that I acquired this summer.

I had this in a pot all summer and although it had spectacular, healthy foliage, there wasn't even the hint of a flower stalk. Now the foliage is dying back a bit. Should I cut the dying foliage back and leave the healthy looking leaves alone? When you say you cut back the foliage about once a month did you go real short, ground level or just trim some older stuff?

I'll put it away till spring and then plant in the ground.

Did you have the same success in subsequent years after this comment was written in 2012?
If you don't lose some plants to the weather this year, you aren't trying hard enough. - Glenn Hasulak
[Last edited by vbprog - Nov 14, 2014 9:59 AM (+)]
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Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tropicals Foliage Fan Bulbs Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
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eclayne
Nov 14, 2014 10:06 AM CST

Plants Admin

I've come to think of this as preventing the soil, or other medium, from completely drying out as opposed to keeping it moist.

vbprog said:Should I cut the dying foliage back and leave the healthy looking leaves alone? When you say you cut back the foliage about once a month did you go real short, ground level or just trim some older stuff?

After lifting and cleaning the rhizomes I remove the foliage and continue to remove new growth near the soil/medium level.

vbprog said:Did you have the same success in subsequent years after this comment was written in 2012?

The method continued to work fine. An additional method I've successfully tried is storing rhizomes in moist peat in open plastic bags. Check the Peat occasionally and moisten as required. I've seen a video where the rhizomes are stored in moist horticultural sand (whatever that is).

Since I haven't overwintered potted Canna I'm guessing that watering once/month, or so, will work just fine.

I should note that the only Canna I overwintered last year was City of Portland. The others had a virus and I disposed of them. Based on good advice I received here I ended up disposing of the CoP as well, they did come through the winter fine though. I'll be ordering replacements this spring.
Evan

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