Zone-pushing--no winter protection in Zone 6?

dublinbay z6 (KS)June 12, 2011

I know the "correct" answer to my following question, but I'm not looking for the "correct" answer. I'd like to hear from those of you who have tried the "incorrect" method.

How successful have those of you in Zone 6 (midwest specifically) been at leaving your canna in the ground all winter and seeing them bloom/multiply the next growing season?

Some years ago a local woman told me she had planted canna on the south side of her house 10-15 years earlier, had never lifted them for the winter, and they not only had survived every year, but had thrived to the extent that she was always giving away the extra canna every year.

I didn't have the south side of my house available, so I planted a few canna next to the west side of the garage. For about 5 years I had some canna blooming there even though I never lifted them in the winter. (Leaves from the neighboring oak trees would fall on that bed.) I wouldn't say my canna thrived there, but there were always at least several canna that would bloom.

Then I wanted to redesign the west side of the garage, which meant I was left holding 5-6 rhizomes (is that what they are called?). Despairing of finding a place to put them, I dumped them in the ground by the wire fence back by the alley. My neighbor's oak tree always sheds a ton of leaves back there--a real pain to rake up every spring, but evidently enough protection for the canna because they grew back for several years with no other winter protection or care. However, last year I tried a lawn service (I'd always done my own lawn care before) and had them blow away about half the leaves back there along the fence so that there wouldn't be such a big raking job this spring. That worked out fine, but none of the canna grew back at all.

What do you think--was it just luck that the canna kept coming back by my fence for several years, or was that extra pile of oak leaves just enough winter protection to keep them alive for those years?

Have you managed to keep canna alive and producing without digging them up and storing them each winter? I'd be curious about what kind of luck you had if you did.


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Some cultivars do come back, but I wouldn't count on it.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 7:28PM
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I have learned the hard way that it is not worth taking the chance. I lost all of my cannas and had to start over due to harsh winters. Heavy mulching was not enough. I had 2 years where I was OK, then I lost all.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 6:47AM
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ifraser25(z11 Brazil)

I kept Cannas alive in a cold part of England by the following method. After the first frost dump a ton of horse manure on top of them. The heat from the fermenting compost keeps them alive even through a heavy frost. Doesn't look so good, however. My wife forbade it a second year! - Ian.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 11:14PM
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nucci60(6 Ma.)

tried it a few times and even mulched them and they always turn to mush. I have better luck with basjoo bananas.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 11:11PM
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I have potted cannas that weren't in enough sun to bloom (except one) then Irene hit and shredded them. I know I won't be getting any flowers this year. Can't I just dig them out of the pots now and store them? Please help-never did this before.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 3:54PM
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I know someone in zone 6 that had a canna planted literally right next to the house foundation that comes back every year. It does grow a little strange since the sprout has to grow away from the foundation to get taller....but nevertheless....blooms every year.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 5:21PM
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I know of three places that I have seen them survive in my area and that was because they were close to the dryer vent each place. I tried planted them by the foundation but didn't work for me but it did for my calla lilies.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 12:34PM
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A few years I've left some canna tubers in the ground over the winter in zone 6 (typically varieties I wasn't very interested in saving). I think I got a good number to resprout and grow just one time (the bed was in an open location).

It doesn't surprise me that people have success in a southern exposure up against the house or similar protected location in zone 6 (I've done well with Amorphophallus konjac and Nandina in such a spot). It'd also help to have exceptional drainage, and a covering of mulch would be a good idea too.

I wouldn't depend on even this setting in the case of rare/expensive varieties though.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 11:55AM
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