Caring for your Canna


You may have noticed lots of these plants in the town display this Summer and several people purchased them from us at the Carnival.

Many people have enquired about the best way to care for their plants especially over the Winter.

They are low maintenance and easy to grow, and both their flowers and foliage offer long-lasting colour in the garden.

Once established, cannas need to be kept moist. They also require monthly fertilizer that is relatively higher in phosphate for continual bloom.

It is usually necessary to dig up and store canna rhizomes in the Autumn.

Winter care of the Canna plant will help to ensure you get many years of pleasure from these glorious plants. In October there is a choice to make: lift or mulch? Caution or crossed fingers?

A thick, dry mulch applied now might be enough to keep out the frost, forming a duvet it cannot quite penetrate.  Or it might not be quite cosy enough, the frost might winkle in and your corms will be turned to mush.  If you don’t want to take the chance, and particularly if your area is cool and frost-prone and your soil less than well drained, it is sensible to lift cannas, dry them out, and store them over winter.

Use a garden fork to gently lift the corms or tubers from the ground, then cut down the blackened stems to about 2in (5cm), and shake off the excess soil. Much will cling, so wash it off under a hosepipe or give a good dunk and scrub, taking care to evict mini slugs that will cause winter havoc. Leave to dry for a couple of days and then sink them deep into dry compost before tucking them away somewhere dark, cool and frost-free for the winter.

Prepare a large box and have some dry sand or peat free compost (that is not wet) ready. Put a layer of this in the bottom at least 1 inch thick. Carefully put a layer of rhizomes on top of  and cover them with more. Put more rhizomes in and cover them. It is important not to allow the pieces to touch otherwise they might rot. Cover the box with newspaper.

You need to keep your rhizomes from drying out completely but you don’t want any condensation.  Your roots will rot.

During the winter, check on your Canna lily roots and make sure that they are not going mouldy because of too much condensation.

As soon as the weather warm up they start sprouting and it’s a race to plant them. You can also start them inside in pots to give them an early start if you have a sunny window.

It is sometimes possible to overwinter your canna Lilies just by drying out the rizomes a bit and placing them in a loose pile in a bucket. This will work better if your roots are not damaged or bruised and if you have a nice cold dry room for them.

We hope you find this helpful and that you get many years of pleasure from your plants.



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