Canna Care

Mon. Oct. 22, 2018

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Canna care

Cannas are those gorgeous plants that look like they should be in the tropics.  They bloom late in the summer and have these marvelous leaves that make you think of being fanned in a cabana and eating grapes… or maybe that’s just me!

Anyway, for those of us in cold climates, these plants come from bulbs that do not tolerate our temperatures.  Each Spring they’re planted and each Fall, you dig them up… That sounds like a lot of work, it can be, but it’s worth it!

Canna bulbs

Not only do you get these beautiful plants, they reproduce each year and you can keep them or, do what I do, and give them away!  Two weeks ago, the temperatures got cold enough to nip the flowers and turn the leaves brown.

cold nipped the leaves

So, I cut them back, which is interesting as they can get pretty thick!

those thick stems are juicy

And dug them up.  Using a garden fork, I try not to stab too many of the bulbs!  I think I only nailed a few.  Anyway, it’s the best way to get them out of the ground and save as much of the roots and bulbs as you can.

Then, it’s time to knock off as much dirt as possible and then let them dry in the sun…

Monster bulb/rhizome

So the day AFTER I dug them out and had the bulbs laid out nicely in the sun.  We were all feeling pretty good about it.  Then it snowed 2 inches the next day.

The good news is, there wasn’t a hard frost to harm the bulbs and the sun came out the next day.  Three days later, I packed them in paper bags and put them in the basement.

A couple of interesting facts:

  • Cannas starchy root is edible.
  • Without exception, all Canna species can be traced back to the Americas.

So, we got that goin’ for us.