dividing & potting cannas

beth2005(NC8)July 5, 2005

I must move, but I'd like to be able to take a few of my beloved cannas with me. What's the best way to gently dig & pot these babies for the move? Keep in mind, it's mid-summer in the south. It was close to 100 today. How can I keep them from getting too stressed?



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skygardening(z9 FL)

Cannas do well on moves. I brought mine down to Florida last July. I removed them a second time in April and they are blooming now and mulitiplying. I put mine in big plastic dish pans.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 4:52PM
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I honestly don't know if this will help, because, in part, it depends on when you're going to move.

I've literally yanked (altho gentle digging would be better) canna rhizomes out of the ground, washed the soil off and stuck them into buckets of water. I've had them sitting in water for up to six weeks (at least) in a protected spot. I changed the water often.

As I'm usually giving this away to my sister or friends, when it came time to travel, I wrapped wet newspaper around the rhizomes/roots and put into large baggies and taped them closed. I used a marking pen to write the names, flower color, and heighth on the baggie. One group made it all the way to Ohio from California by car just fine.

After their road trips, some were potted up and others went straight into the ground and to my knowledge, none were lost. I did cut off the majority of the leaves on some of the smaller ones, or cut the stem in half on the larger ones before bagging them. This took up alot less space then individually potting them.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 6:49PM
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Thanks, Jenna!
That sounds like a perfect solution for me: I will try digging the rhizomes & doing it that way. I have so many plants I want to try & bring with me, the less space any one plant takes up, the better. (If I could, I'd dig up & pot up the 25 or 30 tomato plants that are all now about 6 feet high!)

    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 9:51AM
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skygardening(z9 FL)

When I mail out my cannas I dig them up, put them in water and devide them. I cut off all the leaves at about ground level.(2") Let them dry for about a half hour and wrap in newspaper and ship. At the other end they are ready to plant. If you have a lot that you want to take it is better to just take the rhizomes, not the whole flower. Like you said, you can take so many more in the same space. As long as they can go back into the ground at the other end without freeze you should be alright.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 9:43AM
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Beth, I don't know if you have time to get tomato plants fruit due to the time of year, but there's a couple methods you could try with some of your tomato plants.

One, and I've done this, is to take some cuttings and water root them. I would do the water rooting outside to keep them acclimated to the weather. And either pot 'em up or put them directly into the ground at your new home. The roots will be weaker due to being rooted in water but if they survive the move and planting, they'll toughen up really fast.

The other method is to cut them back and lift them. If you have humongous planters, plant them in those. If your back can take it, you can move those. Or, if you're just moving a short distance, wrap them roots in wet newspaper and replant them immediately into either the ground or large planters at your new house.

Some may survive, others may not, but it's always worth a try. I doubt if your harvest would be as large but any fresh tomato is worth not having any.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 2:29PM
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I appreciate the tomato advice but there was just no room. I had to move from a house with a huge vegetable garden & many flower beds to an apartment w/ a tiny concrete patio out back. It's just temporary, but no room for tomatoes. I left about 25 tomato plants for the new owners of my house, all loaded with fruit that was only about 2 weeks from ripening. Maybe I'll go back in a few weeks and beg for a basket full! In the meantime I'll just have to buy my tomatoes from the farmer's market. I should have enough time left in the season that I might try a dwarf cherry tomato in a container.
So the move is over, and the cannas are fine. A few young ones I just dug up and put in pots to decorate my little patio. Most are in limbo, the rhizomes wrapped up in damp paper inside plastic baggies. It's going to be spring before I can plant them - can I trick them into thinking it's winter already? I don't normally dig my cannas for the winter, they've always come back fine spending their winters in the ground. Should I keep them cold & damp, like in the refrigerator, or should I keep them cold & DRY?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 7:17PM
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