Freezing Cannas... Are they goners?

homemommyApril 7, 2009

I am pushing my luck again.

I have been hauling just shy of 50 canna tubers in and out of the house for the last 3 weeks or so, all potted up. On Sunday our weather took a turn for the worse, and I did not put them out. Nor did I put them out yesterday or today. I got to thinking about them today, and went to go check on them and realized that I was short, some where missing! I ran out to the window, and sure enough, there in an open poly house I believed was empty from Saturday night, where 13 of my Cannas!!

Our temps have been down around 2 degrees C to -2 Degrees C, (I suspect about 33-37 degrees F.) and they have been out in this for 3 nights, 2 1/2 days! I am freaking out!

I brought them in. The soil was very cold, but most pots where not frozen, I don't know if this is because they had warmed up during the day or if they never froze (which I find doubtful). Hours later all but a couple that were not in the greatest shape to start with seem nice and firm, the roots look good.

How long do I have to wait to see if they are alright? Is it possible for them to be alright?

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I read last year from someone that if you potted them, it will not bloom the same season. I also read from another post last year that when you directly plant them to the ground versus the one potted, the one directly planted to the ground will be able to catch up quickly.

I just read this and not from me. :)

Hopefully, someone can shed some light.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 6:33PM
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Well, I thought I saw earlier this spring that potting up was recommended... hmmm...

Most day now they are in the poly house which gets really nice and warm, definately gets the soil over 65 degrees, probably closer to 80 or 85!

We are sitting about 12 hours after bringing them in, I removed them from the soil and washed them off, they are actually still looking pretty good, still nice and firm, although the tips of some of the sprouts have turned on me. But, my experiance is if you loose the sprout, another will bud... I suppose the next few days will be telling... I feel sick, but glad that it was only 13, and not the whole kit and kaboodle!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 10:31PM
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Well, good news and bad news, the Cannas I left outside do not seem any worse for the wear, some have gone on to produce some serious sprouts, others have not but are still nice and hard, look healthy, they seem to be progressing about as well as the ones that got put inside.

That said, out of about 45 cannas, I have 12 that are not eyeing up, and are not putting out roots. some where from the batch that was left outside, others are not, basically, none of them have been treated any differently then others that are now showing signs of life, even leafing up!

Can I just chalk this up to a different variety? Many of these where received off freecycle freshly dug up last fall, so I have no idea what they where... How long can it take for a potted canna to break dormancy?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 2:32PM
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green_thumb_guy(Z5 Ont)

I've run into the same thing with some tubers I've purchased. They seem to be section where the ends had been cut off. I don't have an explanation other than, thatthe section of the tuber is not strong? Or is it just that some of our cooler temps (and fluctuations) keep them in a dormant state. I usually throw these away.

I wish I had an explanation ; this is why I put 3 to 5 eyes in my pots.... just in case

Perhaps someone with a lot more growing expereince knows.

The nice warm temps (finally) are waking up the cannas.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 10:25PM
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Wow, GreenThumb! you really do love your Cannas! I have almost none compared to that collection!

I hope I don't loose these.. I'll keep my fingers crossed that they come to life soon! I seem to have promised them to so many, lol! I might have to scale back my gifting and hand out Dahlias and black eyed suzies instead!

So is that a greenhouse? Do you keep it heated all winter or did you put them out more recently? You don't cart those puppies around do you?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 9:45AM
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green_thumb_guy(Z5 Ont)

It is a greenhouse that I made about 10 yrs ago. We were replacing our house windows so I saved them to use here. I don't heat it over the winter. Just in the spring. No, don't want to cart those pots in and out. I put the cannas in once I pot them up.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 7:26AM
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Do you notice a real spike in your hydro bill when you get it going??

Looks like I have 40 tubers in total that are actively growing / broke germination... Around 15 that have not, although I am still hopeful for 1/2 of those... Not too bad considering this is my first year saving them! But, I feel disapointed, maybe I am a little obsessed! lol!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 10:34AM
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green_thumb_guy(Z5 Ont)

No, real spike in the hydro bill.

I think you have doe fine with your cannas. I don't get 100%. You can only do what you can do. It was an accident leaving them out - out well. Focus on what you have going.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 10:45AM
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Thanks for the info and moral support ;-)

I want to build my own greenhouse, was thinking of seeing if I could get windows off Freecycle perhaps over the summer, but my husband is nervous about increases in fuel to heat it... Of course, I am assuming you are are using electricity to heat it! lol...

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 8:04AM
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green_thumb_guy(Z5 Ont)

My greenhouse is 16' X 8'. It took windows from 2 houses to build. If I had to do it over, I would not use glass windows. Warehoused plastics in Bramptoncarries a polycarbonate sheet that is twin walled. Thi will help keep the heat in the greenhouse and it would make the construction a lot easier. They come in 4' X 8' sheets. Was around $90 a sheet. Worth it in the long run. If you did a little plant sale you could earn $$ for the construction if money is an issue. Just an idea.

Anyway, as for heating, I use a little microfurnace to heat it over the cold nights and days. I don't try to heat it during the winter at all. The cannas a re sleeping anyway. I take a break from gardening over the winter.

One other piece of advice... use pressure treated lumber. I didn't and now (10 years later) I have to start repairing where windows are sagging due to rotted wood.

If you have more questions let me know.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 6:32PM
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green_thumb_guy(Z5 Ont)

Had a thought,

I think it would be best to keep an eye on the pots that were exposed to the extreme cold. Got wondering whether they were stressed and potentially could/may allow any viruses (?) to be expressed. This year, I have seen it happen to 2 people. Not sure if the tubers were already actively infected or just coincidence. But in one case for sure the tubers were chilled by accident. Not sure about the other person.

I think you indicated that you got them from freecycle - so there is the potential.

Being cautious can't hurt.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 5:54AM
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Thanks for sharing about your greenhouse ;-) The plastic 4x8 sheets sound like a good idea... I have also been looking up some info on Passive heat green houses and they sound interesting too... thanks for the name though of a company who sells this sort of stuff locally...

As for the Canna Virus, you are probably right, best to be careful, i'll keep an eye on them... Honestly though i am more comfortable with getting big healthy tubers off freecycle then i am from paying for them at stores in bags from dutch nurseries...

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 7:23PM
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Geez, these poor plants can't catch a break!

I spent the whole day babying all my plants. Potting up many to larger sizes, I planted several hardier annuals out in the garden (they where hardened off over the last few weeks). Just got them all back into the poly houses and the winds started moving in, interupting the nicest day we have had this year.

Then... the poly houses fell over! I am rather distraught, but with an active storm now and a tree close by with a branch that is breaking, I don't dare go out and try to fix any of it.

I am mildly concerned if the winds don't die down, the houses may get up and fly away on me... what that will do to the plants I have no idea.

Most of the Cannas ironically should be fine, I am really worried though about my other 400 or so plants...

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 5:15PM
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green_thumb_guy(Z5 Ont)

I know what you mean. Was out in the backyard potting up Stargazer lilies when the dark clouds came rolling in.

Hauled everything in the garage just in time.

Went back out later and finished the rest.

This year is quite a challenge. Still waiting for a lot of plants to wake up.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 7:12AM
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woodsterrichard(Z6B NS)

one of the biggest producers of cannas is in oklahoma and oklahoma has freezing temps .the cannas are left in ground and they don't freeze . so if yours have experienced a little frost , i don't think it will hurt them .
does anyone know if it hurts the canna to stretch for lite . i have one that has stretched about 4 ft. with 3 leaves on it . i put them in a cold room for winter that wasn't so cold . i just brought them out and they are very pale and stretched .

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 2:02PM
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green_thumb_guy(Z5 Ont)

I think you will find that the stem won't be very strong. I broke off a ferw of these kinds of stems while potting mine up.

The wind will probably get to them.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 7:10AM
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