1st timer w/ Cannas

stampin_kerryMarch 4, 2009

I was reading through Zone 5 cannas and still have questions. I got my first plant late last summer/early fall. I left it outside until the frost killed the leaves (as I believe I was told to do). I then trimmed the stems to about 2 - 4". I pulled the rhizome out of its pot, let the soil dry and gently removed the soil. I put it in a box, nothing in the box as informed to do and closed it and left it in my garage over winter. I have now brought it in, let it warm up a bit while soaking in water for about an hour. Planted it in moist potting soil, placed in a s. facing window near a radiator. This was about 8 - 9 days ago--no growth.

1. Since I'm in WI and others mention basements and 50 degrees, was my garage too cold.

2. Some have mentioned keeping it slightly moist (spritz 2 xs in winter) could mine have dried out and died?

3. How long before one should see new growth if all is going well, am I being to anxious since I'm a newbie?

I hate killing plants and I will feel just awful as I spent a fair amount on this little guy (dwarf canna w/variegated leaves) because I've been so in awe of their beauty.

I don't think these specific questions have been posted so I hope I'm not repeating.


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I doubt Canna rhizomes would survive the cold in the garage over winter and that too in a place like Wisconsin. You did everything right except leaving in the garage I guess. Let us know if the rhizome shows any growth for the rest of the season. If not.. dont loose your heart. We all do mistakes as first timers.
It was my first experience with Cannas last year too. I bought about 20 of them from Horn Canna. They all did excellent. I have dug all of them and left in my basement over winter. Some of them are already sprouting. Some of the other members told me not to worry. You can definetly try buying some rhizomes from Horn Canna. They are the cheapest ones I saw online and their rhizomes & service are fantastic. I bought few of them at Lowes couple of weeks back. Not sure how they would do though.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 7:39PM
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Linda's Garden z6 Utah

Hi, I live in northern Utah and the winters are pretty cold here too! I store my cannas in the garage which gets pretty cold but does not freeze. I think the lowest temp was about 38 degrees inside the garage this winter. I checked my rhizomes the other day and they all appear to be fine, some of them even starting to grow a bit. I keep mine in boxes with some peat moss added. I think if your rhizome did not appear to be rotted or soft, then it will probably be just fine. Might just take awhile to get going. Wouldn't water too much until you start to see some growth, otherwise you run the risk of rotting the rhizome. I would just give it some time. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 1:40PM
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I'm new in cannas too and still have tons of questions as well. However, I did a lot of readings last year about overwintering them. I read about garage as a canna storage but it's a NO here in my area since water freezes inside my garage badly even if my garage door is insulated as well as walls are insulated. And you're not far from me, so looks like it killed it. Hopefully not.

If you have some time today, please post a picture of the rhizome. This way, folks here can tell if it's gone or good. :)

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 3:53PM
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I've been growing Canna for years and although I'm in Alabama, I can tell you this......

We leave our canna's in the ground over the winter. And they have survived some incredibly low temps. I mean down to about 18 for a few hours at a time. They always survive with heavy mulch.

I believe they survive for 2 reasons....One, the surrounding soil they are in stays relatively warm...and two, the added mulch I put on them adds to the insulation.

If I lived in an area like you do, I would probably just pot them up in a container in their regular growing medium, like potting soil and put them in the garage. Or, if I put them in a box, I would surround them with peat moss. The peat moss will keep the canna from drying out and provide extra insulation from the cold......Good luck with your canna....they can be slow to awaken, I'd just give it a little time....they are amazingly resilient!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 9:42AM
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I've grown cannas in northern Utah for over 30 years and have about 2500 to 3000 rhizomes at the end of each season. (I sell over 800 rhizomes to a local nursery each year.) If you lift them to store, I would suggest storing them in plastic garbage bags with a little peat moss sprinkled over them as you fill the bags. I put my bags inside wax covered produce boxes that I obtain free from the local grocery store before I fill them. The boxes help protect the bags and you can stack the boxes. They will winter over in milder climates in the soil even though the air temperatures gets low, but outside of the soil, make sure you store the rhizomes in 50-55 degree temperatures. Otherwise they can rot. I lost several hundred rhizomes one year in 38-40 degree storage.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 12:04PM
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green_thumb_guy(Z5 Ont)

Hi Kerry,

I use to pack all my tubers into shavings or peat moss. One year, I was in a hurry and they ended up sitting on the basement floor and my kittens payed on the pile all winter long. The tubers ended up being fine. Now, I don't bother cleaning them up in the fall - use to flood the backyard.

I clean them up in Feb.

Here's some pics to show my tubers sleeping. They sit like this from the middle of October until now - by the time I get them all cleaned up.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 7:12AM
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We can't see the large pics. It's failing when I click on it.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 9:24AM
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green_thumb_guy(Z5 Ont)

Crap! Sorry about that. I selected clickable images.

Had to post them large. Clickable worked once and then wouldn't do it again.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 12:14PM
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ccckoball(z 8)

Hey, green thumb guy, Thanks so much for posting. Those pics are the very best I have seen for how to overwinter that finally makes me 'get it'. I've killed all mine every winter in the past. I think I'll try again this fall, using your setup as my template. Or, should I curse you for providing the pictoral impetus for me to shell out mucho dinero yet again this year, when I thought I had just convinced myself that I wouldn't!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 3:00AM
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