9 things I've learned about canna in zone 5--storage, planting...

cheerpeopleOctober 23, 2004

I'm not saying I'm an expert but it seems a lot of folks have anxiety about canna how to's including me. I hate to lose something I love! FWIW here's what I've learned from my own mistakes and successes.

Here in Zone 5a might be different/ or not from warmer zones 6-7.

1. Size does matter: Some canna have giant tubers. Red stripe and musafolia for example are huge. The red stripe store for 8 months here and are fine- hardly can kill them no matter if you store on a shelf or a cardboard box, or throw a blanket over them. Wash them or don't wash them... As long as it's coolish and dark....

Other canna have smaller tubers- long skinny things or just tiny. I haven't had the best luck with these in a box- so I'm trying the barely moist peat moss in a plastic bag method. I've been warned these heat up early from karcheskycanna.com ( great co. by the way!) and will have to take them out of there before the ground here is ready and store out of peat for a months or so I guess.

2. I've learned it doesn't grow faster if you stick a canna in the ground in a April under a clouche'. Ground temps are the key to them taking off and it doesn't get you earlier blooms to go to the hassle of putting them out sooner. Or ...putting them in a warm house to start then in cold dirt...it doesn't grow any faster..

3. If you put canna out here in May the foliage will be ugly for a while- because if teh wind and sleet we have until June. So I put out June 1 even tho the frost free date is May 15.

4. If you put a canna in too late (mid June) / or in too much shade it WILL not bloom that year. Our growing season is 4 months before frost.

5. If someone trades you a shovel chopped canna down to one eye or less now - you probably have dead canna by planting time in spring.

6. No matter how close to the foundation ( microclimate) you plant any canna if left outside in zone 5 is a dead canna.

7. You can grow some types of canna true from seed in the house in May ( altho there are a lot of rogues) and plant them out June 1 and have them bloom before your tubers!

8. Water canna can do better in the garden than drier type canna can do in bog like conditions. Our rainfall is 30-40 inches annually.

9. Maybe miracle grow spray on fertilizer does make a difference in height of the plants?? will be double checking that thought next year....

If you have observations you'd like to share from zone 5 or colder zones I'd love to hear from you. :)

My brain can never get enough....

Hey thx, Karen

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thanks for the tips. I got cannas this year for the first time. They were such a good buy at Wally World.

Today is the day they come inside.

Where on earth can I get peatmoss?

will they be ok without it? How about plain dirt?

You mentioned "washing". You said it doesn't matter either way for the big mammas but what about the moderate sized ones?

Also do these thing do ok indoors? I got one very nice dark brown-red color I really like. I thought it would nice in the living room. Even if it doesn't bloom inside, I love the leaves.

Where do these things come from? They look tropical but why then do they have a dormant stage like irises?

Or is it just that the tubes store the energy and can survive the winter in our basements even though its not natural for them to winter?

    Bookmark   October 23, 2004 at 2:36PM
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Let's make that 11 things i learned...

Peat moss comes at wally world too.

It's cheapest in big bale bags at the end of the season. You can buy it there in smaller bags with the potting soil as well.

Karcheskycanna.com has some great tips and info just cut and paste that as your address and look, ok?

Yes, you can use dirt. Alice, from karchesky, suggested I take some fickle types of canna and keep them and all dirt surrounding them and put them in a large plastic bag left open but on it's side in the basment- it's just ..... soooo heavy. I would have had to make a million trips to the basement ( aka dungeon) So I went with the peat moss suggested by a GW- er in DC because it's light as air and it works for him. Plus his were actually growing in the peat moss by spring and the new roots make it obvious which are viable and which have died!

Boca joe (zone 7) says don't wash. I tried banging the dirt out the first year- unwashed- worked but it busted the canna to bits- better if you break them up in the spring than now.... So I washed the dirt out and let them dry this year. Stay tuned.. Or do some ea. way......I have yet to see a moldy canna tuber here.

Doesn't hurt to try as a houseplant but you might need a bay window on the S. or a green house. They like full sun, usually the house is a lot less. One guy here last year said he started them inside too early and described them as leggy......

Where do they come from you ask. well flaccida is a type native to loiusianna ( I know i mispelled that) they are from zone 8 and + places originally. Now they are from walmart..tehe! No, I'm sure it's not natural for them to winter in our basments ;) It's just something us crazy gardeners do when we want to PRETEND we live in a tropical paradise- surrounded by corn fields and cattle, in my case!

Hope that helps

BTW Alice, much more knowledgable than I, has started a yahoo chatgroup on canna and canna ?

Oh and I forgot what I learned #10. Wintersowing canna (outside) in zone 5 is a joke.

and #11. You can chop down canna and replant the tubers in someone elses garden all summer long, even in bloom, and yes they will grow but may not bloom depending on the season and zone.

Karen cheerpeople

    Bookmark   October 23, 2004 at 8:03PM
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WPalm033(Chicago Z6)

Sleet up until june???? I think sleet is rare in april...

    Bookmark   October 25, 2004 at 4:38PM
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You gave me pause for thought. My mistake..- sleet's usually here by Halloween. Hail is in April and it's a kicker of a windstorm after Mothers day that undoes anything new that I planted out before June 1.

I hope that makes more sense,

    Bookmark   October 25, 2004 at 7:36PM
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WPalm033(Chicago Z6)

Sounds about right to me, other than that you have VERY good and thought out canna how to's!!

Thanks for that

    Bookmark   October 26, 2004 at 4:24PM
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cannahavana(z7a Knoxville)

Karen, you have done an excellent job! This has needed to be posted for so long. When I see a post or I am asked how to overwinter the rhizomes, I feel so useless because I have never done it and will not pass on advice on something I have no experience with. This info needs to be in the FAQ's because it is asked so many times. I know that the Ghost is the keeper of the FAQ's, but she is no longer around. Contact Spike and see how you can add this info.


    Bookmark   October 30, 2004 at 9:27AM
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spike says it's too specific (being zone 5) for a FAQ.
I'm bumping this back up- seems like there are lots of posts with these ?'s

    Bookmark   December 4, 2004 at 3:56AM
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castorcrap(z5 wv & z6 Md)

Is canna pretoria less hardy than red leaf?
Is red leaf hardier than regular green leaf?
If i leave outside for winter, does super drainage and dry soil make the difference?
How often should i divide cannas?

    Bookmark   December 10, 2004 at 10:06PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

I'm not sure if I read #2 correctly, but I agree it does no good to put cannas out too soon. The ground does have to be warm for them to grow. However, I do get blooms quicker and more growth by starting them indoors around mid March. The trick is to make sure you don't plant them out too soon or they just go into shock and take a long time to recover.

You did a really good job of listing some very good growing points.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2004 at 3:05PM
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Yah know Kevin, I don't have a good spot to try this as I'm thinking you are: potting them up and putting them in a WINDOW? Or just any place in the house to warm up?
I'm out of WINDOW space by that time of year. Too many tropicals and seeds starting- but I was told that they caught up----- those that were in the ground were only a few weeks behind and actually caught up.
If your experience was otherwise I'd like to know. Did you use the same variety tuber in the ground vs started in the house? They had light or not? Sounds like a good experiment to me....


    Bookmark   December 15, 2004 at 2:13PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls


I start them in gallon sized baggies (they take up less space that way) in any warm part of the house. I usually use the tops of my radiators with a 1 inch thick board underneath so they don't fry. Good heat really gets them going fast. Light is not necessary in the beginning. Once the foliage starts to form, I do move them to a sunny window in an unused, unheated part of my house. I have also grown them in less than great light and they still do well.

I have tried all my cannas both ways and am really sold on the early start inside. If I don't do this, I really can't count on flowers until September.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2004 at 7:09PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls


Just another thought: Remember, I'm in MN and some summers it can take forever for the soil to really warm up. Most summers, it takes until early July for the water in my pond to reach 70. People in other parts of the country might do just as well planting them directly in the ground.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2004 at 7:21PM
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Kevin, well then My # 2 statement is wrong. I stand corrected. Thx Kevin ;-) I will give them time trials both ways and see if it's worth the trouble here. Are you zone 3 or 4?
How much earlier do you see blooms July- Aug? My earliest are late aug or sept.for zone 5a

Here is a link that might be useful: some canna here

    Bookmark   December 15, 2004 at 10:09PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

Zone 4-5 here. On some of the dwarfs, I see blooms in July. Most of the others bloom in early August. I grow a lot of my cannas in pots (I'm out of garden space) and have found that those plants grow faster and bloom earlier than the ones in the garden. That makes sense since pots would heat up faster and are easier to keep moist and well fertilized.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2004 at 1:25PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Cheerpeople, good points.

I can only give my experience for the last 2 years. I grow most of my cannas in pots. I leave them in the pots and they go into the plant/laundry room. I cut the leaves before they come in. The room temp is 50-60 degrees. Very little light. Water twice during the winter very lightly.

By March they start leaf growth. I start water once a month.

I have blooms the second week of June. My last frost date is May 15th. I have 25 Cannas now. It is truly a jungle in my laundry room by May.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2004 at 2:57AM
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You know kevin and marquest this sounds like a good experiment for folks in the colder zones
Wouldn't it be cool to do a side by side comparison on pots vs put-in-dirt canna and see how much faster they bloom? Would anyone like to be part of the experiment? You'd need at least 2 tubers of the same variety one for the ground and one for the pot ands you'd need other factors like sun/moisture to be the same.

I also think it would be interesting to figure out the quickest bloomers. I mean it's a factor when you buy tomatoes- the est. days til they fruit is usually on the tag. With canna to my knowledge there is no such info on time 'til bloom, is there? When you live in a colder zone and you only get a couple months of blooms it MATTERS.
Anyone interested in a canna variety race? With results getting posted here? Or is this info already out there?

    Bookmark   December 17, 2004 at 12:21PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

I really does make a lot of sense what marquest is saying. If you don't dig them up and disturb the root systems, I'm sure they would get going earlier in the spring and bloom faster. Cannas are really like any other perennial, if you dig and divide it's going to set them back a bit. In my situation, I just can't imagine dragging all those heavy pots down the stairs into my basement and then up again in the spring. I do have my limits as to what I will do for my plants. LOL


    Bookmark   December 17, 2004 at 4:05PM
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I'm kinda like Kevin on the hauling of that much dirt around-
Marquest- do you think the canna use the same roots for the next season?
I've noticed the roots of mine dessicate and new roots form for the next year. I suspect it's not root disturbance that delays blooms. Perhaps they never actually go dormant with Marquests method, so they never have to "wake UP"

Marquest do you put your pots in the ground? Or do they sit above the ground (warmer I would think) in the summer? I think if I did the latter mine would be forever blowing over here in the country.

One more question Marquest- which ones are the fastest for you?

Hmm... so many questions..to ponder......

    Bookmark   December 18, 2004 at 11:45AM
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Boca_Joe(zone 7A)


It seems to me everyone is making too much work out of all of this. Cannas really are easy to grow and overwinter if you give them the right conditions.

I have friends near and around Chicago, as well as east central Iowa (zone 4b) and they never have any problem with their cannas growing rapidly, becoming gigantic plants and blooming by June or with winter storage. They are grown both in the ground and in containers.

Winter storage is the same no matter where you live. The rhizomes need to be kept relatively cool and dry. Think of them like onions. If you want to keep onions for a long time, they need to be kept cool and dry. If kept too warm and wet they rot, too warm and dry they dry out and turn to dust. I think leaving the soil around them or providing a soilless mix (peat or PROMIX) helps buffer the drying effect of the inside air and greatly increases the overwintering rate.

You need a place indoors that stays between 45 and 60 over the winter for ideal storage.

You can successfully keep them in paper, cardboard, or plastic as long as you provide the above conditions. Most of mine are grown in pots. When I dig them, I use a machete to carefully cut them into "blocks" just small enough to fit in the zip lock bags. I leave all the soil intact. I don;t divide them. Since I have started doing this, I haven;t lost one, not even the ropey , stringy rhizomes of Stuttgardt.

It's ok if they start growing indoors. I have never lost one yet because it started growing prematurely. There is no need for elaborate "growing" or "starting" methods. They are tough plants.

I keep mine in 2.5 gallon zip lock bags. They are stored at about 55-60 all winter. Haven't lost one yet. WHen they start growing in the bags in late Feb or Mar, I ignore it and when it's time (March), I drag the bags under some lights in the basement and they take off. Then outside UNDER my 2nd floor deck (sheltered), and then up ON the deck (full sun). They go right from the bags into the pots. No pampering, no babying.

Once it gets above 60 during the day in spring they go outside. It we get below 35 for a night or 2 I'll throw a tarp over the bags or bring them in. No big deal.

I have about 55 bags of cannas stored this way. But the same thing will work if you have 3 or 300.

Cannas are tremendous feeders and love water and good soil and sun. They will GROW in any soil, but will THRIVE in well amended soil. There's big difference in just throwing them in pots or the ground and treating them like a tomato plant versus providing tons of water and fert (watersoluble Miracle Gro or the like is fine) , at LEAST once a week IF you want the maximum growth, foliage and flowers.

If you don't believe me check out the photos.

Karchesky Cannas is one of the best sources for information, rhizomes and photos. Dave Karrchesky and Alice Harris are the best!


Boca Joe

Here is a link that might be useful: Boca Joe's Tropical Plants

    Bookmark   December 19, 2004 at 9:11AM
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don_brown(Zone 6A NS)

I agree with Joe. It's not rocket science. I grow big beautiful cannas in Nova Scotia. In October I hack them down, tear up the roots from the ground, pack them in a bit of peat moss and put them in bags in the basement. Round about January, there are some yellow sprouts...which I ignore. In April I clean them up and divide them and get them started in the house, and out they go in May. I plant them in a mix of potting soil, composted leaves and coffee grounds, and give them Miracle Gro every week until August. Our summers are not hot, but usually they are blooming by July, August latest, and they keep on growing and blooming into October. Some of them are 7 feet high or so. And every year, there are more new rhizomes than I know what to do with. The canna is one of my favourites....simple, cheap and easy, and while this may sound more like a date than a plant, it realy does turn out to be a regal performer in the garden!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2004 at 6:38PM
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Ann_Michigan(z4-5 n.w.lower)

I will be planting canna seed for the first time this year(05).I never had any before and I got some red seed from a trade.Just can't stand it tell spring;-))
With the short summer we have in zone 5 how big will the seed get before I have to dig them up ??? How hard will it be to find them???

    Bookmark   December 27, 2004 at 4:45PM
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don_brown(Zone 6A NS)

You COULD start the seeds a little early in the house, to get more growth out of your cannas. That way, you could end up with lovely large plants by the end of the summer. There will be no seeds to look for when you dig them up. Cannas have a modified form of underground stem called a "rhizome". So, when you dig them up you will find thick branched root-like structures that are quite firm. These store energy for the plant. These are the parts that you store each winter. Each year, the cannas produce more rhizomes which in turn sprout to form new plants. Before long, you will have more than you need!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2004 at 9:34AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Karen, Sorry I have been holidaying and did not get back to your questions...

the hauling of that much dirt around-


Marquest- do you think the canna use the same roots for the next season?

Perhaps they never actually go dormant with Marquests method, so they never have to "wake UP"


Marquest do you put your pots in the ground? Or do they sit above the ground (warmer I would think) in the summer? I think if I did the latter mine would be forever blowing over here in the country.



One more question Marquest- which ones are the fastest for you?




    Bookmark   December 30, 2004 at 2:08PM
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Kevin and Marquest.
Well it does make sense that they would start sooner and stay warmer if left in pots or baggies and prestarted in a warm place. Then- left above ground for the season to stay toasty. I suspect our soil here in zone 5 does not reach 70 until july.

Marquest I can't believe you get blooms in early June- mine are only a foot tall at that time- and don't have bloom until August.using the inground method and no prestarting. I'm definatly going to have to try the container thing again- I'm thinking black 5 gallon buckets with RR ties 3 high to hide and keep them tfrom blowing. 5 gallon buckets have handles for easy carrying to the basement!

Thx for the advise. I was hoping to learn more with this post and share what little I've figured out. I could have somethin' figured wrong- but i'm trying!

There is really very little specific info on canna in colder zones on the interent that I've found. I've searched alll the big nursery info...here...

If anyone else can contribute info that actually lives or lived in a colder zone we'd all appreciate learning from your experiences. PLease oh pretty please!

Ann- hope you got your email
Boca joe and Don, I appreciate your thoughts.

Welcome 2005!!!!


    Bookmark   January 1, 2005 at 9:26AM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

I have to agree about cannas this far north. I have NEVER seen cannas in MN bloom in June even those planted in full sun. One problem I've seen on all the GW Forums is sometimes people don't realize that what they can do in their part of the country doesn't translate well to another part of the country. As an an example: Some things I would grow in full sun in MN would probably get fried in full sun in Florida. When giving advice to people who post cultural questions, you really have to look at where they live and see if you really know anything about the conditions in that part of the country.

As far as canna from seed, I've grown two so far: Tropical Yellow and indica. I started both indoors in February and had blooms by the end of the summer. The Tropical Yellow produced a few rhizomes, the indica produced a huge pail full the first year.


    Bookmark   January 4, 2005 at 4:47PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Kevin, you are so right. I have also noticed that even the same zone is not created equal. A zone 5 can be dry and cold or wet and cold or snowy and cold. They all make a difference in growth.

As long as I have the room I will continue to do what works for my area. Which is what gardening is about trial and error.

cheerpeople, this is a good idea to give the Northern people advice so they do not feel like a failure and get discouraged when they are not successful. My first year I never saw one flower and little growth when I had to bring them in early Sept. two months of warmth was not enough and many years our summers are done by Sept and lots of snow by Oct.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2005 at 11:38PM
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Marquest and Kevin,

I also benefitted:) I was trying to help us colder zone folk from torturing their canna. Everything in here was learned the hard way! Thanks to the the info I learned here .... I've switched my strategy to above ground container plantings for 2005. I've located a source for BLACK 5 gallon buckets. Figured out that my soldering iron burns drains holes in them nicely. Found a source for free RR ties to cover up the buckets and prevent them from tipping in the wind. And i think the buckets with the handle--- will make the job of carrying buckets to the basement less of a chore than pots... if I decide not to bag them at all.

Yesterday I figured out how to make a temporary green house out of an old roll of hog wire and stakes on clear plastic sheeting that was free at menarnds a while ago- for the month of May.

I want blooms in June too! So thanks you also.

I think canna time trials would be fun! Colder zone folks could use whatever strategy works best and report what bloomed first right here! ANY TAKERS?

I still think figuring out the quicker cannas types would be an asset for us northerners- hense my latest post a few up from this one......Come on folks- chime in ......

More advise and info is always appreciated:)

Now I'm wondering-- Would my alocasia and colocasia get taller if I kept them out of the cold ground all season?????
Always something to ponder........


    Bookmark   January 6, 2005 at 8:17AM
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don_brown(Zone 6A NS)

Has anyone looked into the possibility of using different-coloured plastic as a mulch for cannas? I know that blue works well on melons, and red for tomatoes to accelerate growth......What colour would be good for cannas?

    Bookmark   January 6, 2005 at 11:14AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

cheerpeople, alocasia and colocasia bigger Yep and they bloom if you do the same thing you are doing with the cannas.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2005 at 10:37PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Cheerpeople, I just realized you mentioned drain holes. I do not do drainage they are water pigs. I drown them when it is hot. My Pink Sunburst was put in the pond and it went crazy blooming and growing.

No holes cut my watering to every 3-4 days.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2005 at 10:45PM
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don_brown(Zone 6A NS)

Thanks for the suggestion about the black plastic mulch......I'll try a test group this summer and let you know how it goes.

I was talking to a neighbour who always has a beautiful garden. She's kind of "new age" and mystic, and she told me that in addition to hanging various crystals as energy sources among her plants, she studied some of the old Pagan earth worship tituals from the middle ages.....something about the goddess of the earth or something like that. Anyway she apparently does these things at night during various phases of the moon, makes sacrifices (I didn't ask), and for all I know, dances naked out there. whatever the reason, all I know is that this lady has HUGE cannas. Mine are okay, but I am envious.

I am sure that no one has done scientific studies of this, and there may only be a little anecdotal information available, but I guess what I am asking is: Anyone out there have any experience with this sort of thing? I know it all sounds sort of nutty, but I've always felt some sort of "connection" with the earth when I get out there in the spring, digging and planting. Perhaps this is why the old earth-worshippers started all that quasi-magical stuff. I suppose there's no harm in it since there's really nothing about what she does (of which I am aware) that would hurt the plants.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2005 at 2:45PM
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trixiliz(z6 SW-Missouri)

Marquest, Cheerpeople, Joe,
OK, I am confused...No drainholes in the pot?? My cannas have always grown problem free in the ground...under an eave....where they get little water throughout the summer (Z6,MO). Is it your thought that the same canna will grow in a super-wet pot?
And, I cannot keep up with the growth of the rhizomes....what do you do when the bulb is in a pot? Don't you have to divide it each year??

    Bookmark   January 26, 2005 at 9:54PM
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I was hoping someone else with better luck in pots would answer. I can answer from my experience on one thing.
Not all canna are happy in bog like conditions. I had a bad potting experience with one I think is 'red stripe'. The soil was so wet it killed the sweet potato vine and sedum but the elephant ear was very happy! The canna in the pot was very sickly. It was happier once I moved it into the garden soil. So too wet is not good for that type of canna. I will have some drain holes. You do what you want.

If you can't keep up with the rhizomes encourage your friends/neighbors to come dig their own- that's what I did in the fall last year. Made for smiles all around:)

    Bookmark   February 2, 2005 at 8:52AM
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Time trial update!

I want to make sure I don't flub up so I started one canna early. It was a canna that someone traded me- but they had cut it up with the shovel so small- they even cut the 1 eye it had in half! It was started in a pot in the house by a register - it grew a 1" sprout than curled over and disappeard (died?) It took 3 weeks to sprout and ?die?
I took the temp of the bottom of the pot there and found it to be 78 F. Wondering if i cooked it I repotted it and left it on the counter where is has done nothing more for 2 weeks.

I repeated this experiment with a tuber with 1 full eye.(not cut up so small!)
One moist pot was kept on the top of the fridge ( mine is 68 degrees up there) and after 8 days i yanked it and looked for growth== Guess what nada- nothing

I potted up another moist pot with 2 tubers of 1-2 eyes. I put that moist pot in the same ceramic pot over the register (78F ) and i noiced 2 SPROUTS forming. I dug it up and noticed both tubers in that pot have 1 1/2" ROOTS forming after just 8 days.....

In conclusion: I think 1/2 eye tubers don't have enough starch in that 1/2 eye to grow...but i will be returning it to the 78 to see for sure.

I found 68 degrees- atop my fridge does nothing to get tubers to grow in 8 days.

I found the fastest start to be 78F for bottom of the pot, and had roots in just 8 days.

Something I just learned in my yahoo canna group- don't start tubers too wet - they don't really need a lot of moisture until the leaf forms. It's ok for the TOP of the soil to feel dry before watering again.

If anyone else is doing experiments don't torture your canna without sharing your results. Kevin- put a thermometer in the dirt of the pot or on the board and tell us your temperature there.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2005 at 7:47AM
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abutilon(z6 sw PA)

Lots of info here to read thru. lol
I am zone 6 where there is 8" of snow right now.
Thanks friends (o:

    Bookmark   February 26, 2005 at 10:05PM
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Hello Don Brown! I am both envious and heartened by your success with cannas. This will be my first attempt. Being a fellow Nova Scotian I an intrigued about your neighbour, but will politely restrict my my curiousity to your mention of coffee grounds...I have heard they kill slugs although I haven't seen that to work in my garden. Are there any particular benefits to using them in with cannas? Mora

    Bookmark   March 2, 2005 at 7:33PM
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don_brown(Zone 6A NS)

You're correct, I did not find coffee grounds particularly helpful with slugs, but some years it seems that nothing will deter the little devils, and other years, they seem pretty low-key.
The coffee grounds are great. I use a LOT of them, since I have a direct source from a popular cafe. With their high surface area, they are readily attacked by fungi, and their nutrients released accordingly. While I am not sure of exactly what, I would say that trace elements are a valuable component of what is released into the ground. They are also a good organic soil amendment......rather like adding compost or peat to the earth. As I said before they attract what appears to be beneficial fungal growth too.

Cannas, as moderately deep-rooting and heavy feeders, thrive in earth that has been amended with coffee grounds. Most of my cannas are in containers, and coffee grounds make up at least 15% of the growth medium. And with heavy weekly feeding of Miracle Gro and a pinch of Epsom salts, they really thrive! I think that the trace elements, along with the phytohormones in the coffee act as a mild growth stimulator.

If you make it into the city this summer, stop by and see the garden. we can swap canna stories!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2005 at 11:19AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Is there a benefit to warming the soil? I just started 2 cannas in pots under an HID lamp (I didn't buy it just for this but I already have it for tropicals and citrus so what the heck). The soil temp is about 68. Is that good, or would warming it up to 80 or so on a heat mat do any good?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2005 at 1:40PM
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don_brown(Zone 6A NS)

A heat mat would be beneficial, but I would not bring the temperature above 72 F (comfortable room temperature). At 80 you are getting too warm for all the beneficial bacteria in the earth, so you could risk creating unhealthy soil conditions and/or root deterioration.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 10:18AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

All my cannas are up 4". I left them in the pots. In the cool 55-60 laundry room. No special lights.

Coffee grounds for slugs have to be fresh to be effective. Used coffee grounds do not have enough caffine to kill the slugs.

I use fresh coffee and it works. No slugs

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 9:42PM
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First about the mother earth goddess stuff... I lived in Ireland,a few solstices ago and no kidding, one bought a single carrot to bake for a family of four, second... the price of coffee? we don't get to drink it first? Thirdly Lindemans won't send my canna order until after the last frost date, so what can I expect the first season? Help Mora

    Bookmark   March 5, 2005 at 11:45PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

mora LOL!!!! I get my coffee free. I have a travel job and 4 coffee paks are put in the room every day I do not drink coffee so I give it to the garden.

Second, You should see flowers by August if they send you good bulbs. Give it plenty of water and fertilizer and they will grow crazy.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2005 at 2:22AM
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don_brown(Zone 6A NS)

Well, it's going to have to be pretty cheap and awful coffee for me to toss it on the plants instead of drinking it......especially at the risk of offending the hard-working "Juan Valdezs" who pick the stuff. I'll stick to tossing the used grounds on the plants for compost rather than supporting a slimy mollusc's caffiene monkey.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2005 at 9:57AM
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Marquest and Kevin,

They are sprouting and rooting in those ziplocks with peat moss like crazy. Some have roots at least 1'long. A few are trying to grow leaves in there. Some are doing nothing. A few are dead.

I'm pottin them up! I need more pots.
I'm leaving them in the basement til I see growth since marquest has them already up 4" in the same cool temps as my basement.

How much light are they going to NEED? I have limited window space. If they are in poor lighting aren't they going to get leaf burn/sun scorch when they go out in May?
Are they going to be gangly and perhaps floppish due to this?

I'm feeling a little anxious. A little hand holding would help...

    Bookmark   March 8, 2005 at 4:45PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

LOL@ DON. I understand. I get the coffee free and since I do not drink the stuff my slugs get the best Maxwell house, Folgers etc. They even got some strong P.Rico strong, walk talk stuff. Kills them dead. No more holes in my Hostas.

Holding Karen's hand. I have not had any problem when they hit the outdoors in May. My sun is not strong until July. May is our rainy couldy season.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2005 at 8:04PM
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Ok now I have a question. As I'm potting these up I'm noticing that there are sections of the canna that are rotten. If it's black and dry I'm taking it off. But what about that 1/2 rotten stuff? I'm finding eyes that are oozing and black AND the other half healthy looking. Do I cut the whole eye off? Do I cut just the black part off?
Do I just leave it and it will take care of itself?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2005 at 10:30AM
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Well...it looks like it's time for me to jump in here and join in the conversation. Last year I bought two canna. Got really addicted to them. Had them in pots and they did great! After the first frost..was told to chop down to almost soil level, let dry and remove as much dirt as possible and store in a shoe box in peat moss and stored them in my cool basement. I just checked on them the other day and they look deader than a doornail!! I feel absolutely horrible! How can I be sure if they are dead or still dormant? I have taken them out of the box and let them sit in lite. I have also started several Red King Humbert cannas in pots on no heat mats...just sitting in northern windows. Just found a little sprout yesterday. Should I apply heat? I have also bought some China Doll cannas which I plan to start inside as I'm sitting here knee deep in snow! I do have a greenhouse (on the cool side - 50 degrees) in the basement...should I put the pots in there or will it deter growth? I guess you all can tell I'm sooo new to cannas but want tons of them this Summer - if Mother Nature cooperates!

Just want to say thank you for all the helpful info! I sure hope I have half the luck that everyone else has had!



    Bookmark   March 12, 2005 at 7:23PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

cheerpeople, I was told to cut the rotten part off dust with cinnamon it is suppose to kill fungus and plant any good parts.

LBoyce, When you say dead do you mean black. if you press them are they just black dust. If they are hard and you cannot crush them they are probably good if soft and mushy they are gonners.

I do not use heat or any special light mine stay in the pots all winter water very lightly all winter and they naturally start to grow in March. I try to give mine a zone 7 winter. 50- 55 cool very little moisture. I bring mine in before frost, give them less water and let them gradually go to sleep and then cut the leaves.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2005 at 10:34PM
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Ok now this is interesting.
I just read from ian cooke's book "the gardener's guide to growing cannas." you can see a bit on it at amazon.com

Starting on page 48-
"newly potted cannas must be kept in a frost free greenhouse: this is the minimum requirement. A temp of 50 degrees is optimum and encourages steady but not lush growth. Higher temps result in tend to result in soft growth that can be easily damaged"... "perhaps the ideal is to start cannas on a heated bench with a soil warming cable or pad under the pots. This should be set to achieve a root zone temp of around 60-70 degrees with the greenhouse air temp at 50 degrees" (kind of sounds like Kevin's set up with a board over the register)

and later it says "once shoots appear, some ventilation is allowed but temps well up to 86 degrees seem to do no harm; watering can also be increased"

well it's interesting to me anyway.

Everything's been in pots and barely watered in 58-60 degree basement- some are forming shoots now.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2005 at 3:21PM
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marquest(z5 PA)


Exactly what I have been doing for 3 years. It works....store in the pots, no to little water. They come up when it is time. They have an internal clock.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2005 at 6:02PM
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I live in Westernmichigan (zone 5or6) When should I plant the cannabulbs? End of May? Our last freeze (safe) is supposedly May 20th. (so I've heard)
You don't plant them in the house first? I'd prefer not to have to do this but if it would help I certainly will!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 11:46AM
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Kris- I'd emailed you seperately but have this to add...

I had a tiny half rotted black knight canna. I was able to get it grow roots with the 8 days on heat method- then i potted it like the rest in the basement where it is barely moist nad cooler- and it has since rotted entirely.

Apparently the ability to grow roots does not = survival if tiny and half rotten.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 12:05PM
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I moved all the potted canna to an unheated shed with a garage door. I put them on a black fabric and the temp swings from 50 to 90- when we open the door and let the sunshine in on them for a few hours.

They are shooting up their first leaves in just 3 days.


I will now be putting them in those 5 gallon buckets I have been collecting. I plan to leave them in the buckets and bring them in and store in those buckets next fall-winter. They have a handle and I think I can manage them as long as I don't load them up with heavy dirt.

What do you recommend for planting medium? I have plenty of these:

garden dirt- loamy with slight clay
I am not buying potting soil for 30 of these buckets!

LMK what combo you think I should use. Peat is the lightest to carry and dirt the heaviest. But it also needs to be ok for winter storage-not rotting them....


    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 9:29AM
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Well, I'm in 5b and last summer had cannas on the south side of the house a foot or less from the foundation. We had a "normal" KS winter, avg. snow, wind chills -10 to -20 occasionally. Low and behold a couple of weeks ago, I have volunteer canna peeping their little leaf tips through the soil. I got lazy last fall, didn't even cut the tops off. Some of them are growing up through the old stem! I had a bet with a gardening buddy. (good thing we didn't wager anything, I'd have lost it)

    Bookmark   April 21, 2005 at 1:04PM
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Boca_Joe(zone 7A)


I hope you are documenting your canna methods, buckets, etc. with photos. Who knows we may see you on an INFO-mercial one day - Cheerpeople's Canna Containers- EZ-Grow- EZ-Stow! - hahaha

keep us posted

Boca Joe

    Bookmark   April 21, 2005 at 10:30PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Karen, By the end of summer the pot is so full of bulbs they will not rot and remember all winter you really should only water maybe three times from Dec to March. So there is not enough moisture to promote rot.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 1:52AM
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donnann(5 MA)

Hi, I am new to canna's. I bought giant red canna's from Ebay. I am trying to understand #6 on the first post. I wanted to plant them in front of my porch. Intense sun most of the day. I have had to move a lot of my plants that take sun because they'd wilt and die. Can they take hot sun and can they be planted against the house? It would be against wood slats, not cement. Thanks, Donna

    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 2:27PM
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Boca Joe- funny! thanks for the smirk:;)

BTW marquest says he uses leaves, a cheap diaper (like a hydrogel- for moisture 'cause he's gone for 2 week stretches) and then half compost and half Miracle gro potting soil.

Donna- I should have been more clear on #6- it's about leaving canna outside in teh winter. The summer is fine- canna love heat. And in our zone the more heat and sunshine- the better. Maybe you'll get hummingbirds this year. I did when I planted my first canna!

BTW someone is sending me a box of special canna. It should come tomorrow. I am so excited! It is supposed to be types that have 'all that' in the foliage department and EZ-Stow for winter. <: .. beaming from ear to>Karen

    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 8:54PM
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donnann(5 MA)

Karen, thank you for your reply. I can't wait to see a hummer. I put the feeder out yesterday. These Canna are supposed to grow up to 9 ft. tall. If it happens, the hummers won't be able to miss them :)

    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 11:22PM
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don_brown(Zone 6A NS)

This is all sounding so complicated. I only grew cannas a few times and all i did was stick them in the ground, fertilize and water them and watch them grow. they got big and flowered. Do i really have to be paying attention to all this hi-tech stuff? Maybe i'm doing it all wrong and the cannas are growing despite what I do....I dunno.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 1:54PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

No Don nothing hi-tech. I put them in a pot fertilize and water and let them grow.

The difference is I bring the pots inside for the winter. Then in May repeat the above fert, water, watch them grow.

I cannot leave my cannas in the ground. Did a test in areas and they did not come back. If your cannas survive in your area skip the bring in part. I have some that were gifts and are special to me so I am not willing to just leave them out to die. The pots work for me.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 5:10AM
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Bekkoula(Montreal 5a)

I have wonderfull canna beds, with HUGES healthy cannas and striking flowers when I use cocoa shells as mulch.

The cocoa shells slowly decomposes and it seems cannas love that kind of nutrition.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2005 at 4:15PM
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Hmmm. Maybe I'll have to look into that. I've thought them a little pricey but maybe they are worth it.
Thx for the tip.

Well I tried a minigreenhouse with one of my 'sacrificial' canna that was about 18" tall. Even surrounded with plastic sheeting (in a giant tomato cage 3ftX 5 ft) on the sides and top did not spare it from the record lows. We had 2 nights 22-30 degrees F and the top growth has now browned.

The potted canna in the shed have stopped growing- only half have a sprout. Perhaps the basement - tho darker- might have been better at 60F then the unheated shed this time of year.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2005 at 11:10AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Mine were in the basement until we hit 70s then we got cold down to the 30s. I brought them back in the basement. The growth slowed but they look good.

I did not take them out until after Memorial Day last year but we were so warm I got stupid. Will not do the double drag next year. LOL!!! Memorial Day is our last frost date so I will stick with that date.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2005 at 2:39AM
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You know some don't take well to this potting thing.
I must have watered them too much. as I repotted them to the larger pots (5 gallon buckets with drain holes)
I noticed that all my red king humbert where fine- no rot
Some of my bengal tiger showed rot
many of my tropicanna showed rot.

Since I had many tubers under the same conditions
I'd have to say- they are not all created equal on tolerance to a too wet pot- which i thought was actually too dry.
Lesson learned- keep 'em all potted drier than you'd think for the preleaf stage.

If you've noticed similar fussiness of certain varieties do share...

    Bookmark   May 18, 2005 at 10:32PM
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shiollie(z5 MI)

Well, I suppose I can contribute a bit, I live in Zone 5 Southwest Michigan and my cannas can get out of control.. for example.. I did not want to lose them last year so I brought them inside for the winter, unfortuantly(sp) I have many cats who love the fresh dirt for a litterbox.. hubby finally got tired of that and tossed them all on the berm pile in mid Feb.. guess what.. they are all growing great guns now and I mean he just dumped the pots, we have the flower buds forming now. I baby them and they will grow and he abuses them and they take off like they were on fire!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2005 at 2:13PM
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lynn_d(Z5 PA)

This is my 4th year for the cannas, I plant them in large containers and really never gave them much thought. I have Tropicanna, Wyoming, Richard Moore, Madame Butterfly and 2 others I can't think of right now. Each fall they get whacked down and drug into the garage where they are stacked in a back room for the winter. When I notice them sprouting I drag them up to the dining room french doors (well actually DH does) and I start watering them. Same with the elephant ears, right now the cannas are about 18" tall. They need divided every other year....this is NOT one of them, thank heaven! We should have blooms in a few weeks, Trop is setting buds.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 12:18PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

While starting off indoors the soil temp was 68. They've been outside in pots a couple weeks now, and they are now taking off-the soil warms to 88-90 during the day and even at 6am is still around 73-77.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 10:57AM
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Hairmetal, (was is hairmetal?)

I've been bad at keeping track of temps. I'm glad you did.

Oh hail!
We had marble sized hail and voilent winds. All the canna top growth has been sliced and diced. So I'm back to 6" or so of growth! The elephant ear look terrible. I'd take off all the damaged foliage but then they'd be naked.

My plastic loveseat was broken and tumbled at least 100 ft. My new black bamboo is the clear winner right now- standing at 4 ft of new growth and came thru the storm fine. I might have a new favorite tropical....

BTW I hope you guys are keeping your eyes out for the 2 big bad canna viruses that are coming out of nursery stock and being ignorantly or shamelessly sold. They can infect your other healthy canna. Be careful about new additions to your collections. It is suggested to grow new canna seperately until you are sure there is no suspicious spotting /streaking of the foliage. I'm not an expert on this but I've seen enough email/articles on the topic to be wary.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 11:32AM
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Well it's time for the results of my potting up the canna for earlier bloom- experiment.

I noticed the plain green leaf with red flowers- planted in the ground-- these cannas started blooming in this part of the world (illinois- zone 5) in mid July.

I don't plant this kind anymore - mine must be later to bloom by nature- but the first to bloom were given a head start in the windowsill of my home and then PLANTED IN THE DIRT- NOT LEFT POTTED UP are...'Florence Vaughn' and 'Louis Cottin'- both bloomed the week of the 20th of July.

Of the 9 varieties potted up this spring (which did not get the windowsill treatment) AND HAVE CONTINUED IN POTS - the first to bloom will be 'Cleopatra'- in a few days-


I guess I can conclude that some varieties (like common ones) bloom sooner than others.

Potting things to keep the roots warmer does not jump start them as much as I thought as the two varieties I started in the house then threw in the ground (had the advantage of even house temps at first) were the first to bloom, not the 9 varieties I potted up and left in pots!

Remember the theory here was that cannas would bloom sooner in pots because the pot would have warmer soil than the soil in the garden.

Now that I've gone to the trouble of the pots- I'm just going to continue with it- NOT because it is faster to bloom but it is less trouble to move pots than dig it all in/ out every year.

I'm sure your findings may vary.

Feel free to share what bloomed first and when and your technique!


    Bookmark   July 26, 2005 at 10:24AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Karen you have been great at keeping up. I had blooms the second week of July. They were Cleopatra, Intrigue, Tropicanna. We had a cool Spring so my plants were pushed back by three weeks,

I noticed the plants I divided or Re-planted to larger pots also bloomed later. As I said I grow all my Cannas in Pots no drainage. They are constantly moist planted in my own compost and Miracle grow soil bloom booster ferts every 2 wks.

Cleo is into her second flush of bloom.

My ground Experiment was President, It has not bloomed yet. It does not even have a bud. It is almost rhe same size I planted. LOL!! Needless to say I will not be planting anymore Cannas in the ground. But I am not going to dig it out. This will be a Hardy Experiment

    Bookmark   August 2, 2005 at 10:48PM
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I have 24 containers of canna remaining. 11 of them have yet to produce their first bloom. It is now 9/8/5. Ones that have not yet bloomed include:
'wisley dwarf,' the world's smallest canna-
Red Dazzler
Maudie Malcolm

LMK if the link won't work

thx karen

Here is a link that might be useful: potted canna- 6 pics May- Aug

    Bookmark   September 8, 2005 at 6:45PM
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don_brown(Zone 6A NS)

Well, I stuck my rhizomes in pots, watered them every day and that was pretty much it. No fertilizer since the end of July. Most of them ar 7 feet tall and blooming like crazy. I think the whole trick is not to fuss with them. Mine are the most neglected cannas in the world. I think they bloom just to get attention! Even the ones that were started from seed are blooming! I think I may stop growing anything else and stick to cannas...perfect for a lazy shmuck like me!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2005 at 2:41PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

cheerpeople, are the ones that have not bloomed new this year?

I have no idea why your plants rotted. I have no drainage and never have rot. Maybe because mine have roots and leaves when they go outside. I have all you have except wisley dwarf and Turckheimii. All mine bloomed at least three times this year it was really hot and sunny.

I hate to sound like a broken record but I have no drainage I fill up the pot until the water is on top like a pond and take off for the week. When I return the pot was bone dry.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 9:53PM
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mandruch(z5 OH)

6. No matter how close to the foundation ( microclimate) you plant any canna if left outside in zone 5 is a dead canna.

I have proven this to be false, by accident. I planted some cannas on the hot side of the house, near the foundation, and forgot to dig them up. They came up for the third year in a row with out being dug up, in zone 5! I don't even mulch them. Go figure...:)

    Bookmark   September 30, 2005 at 6:30PM
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donna504(z5 MI)

When you said that you left the cannas in their pots and let them grow again does that mean that they are growing in the same soil from the previous year? Mine are busting at the seams in their pot now and Im sure there is little soil left.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2007 at 6:00PM
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It's year later. I trimmed my collection of 18 down to 3 types of canna that I love the most. Tropicanna, Bengal tiger and Louis Cottin.

Donna, you are right if they stay in the same pot they exhaust the space and soil needs refreshing. So keeping 'em potted still requires unpotting. lol!

I tried Marquests idea and used an antique wash tub with no drain holes this year. I also put the same variety in the ground. The ones in the ground had better moisture, as I let the ones in the container go too dry. Oops! My fault. Anyway the ones in the ground bloomed til frost, the ones in the container that got dry quit a month earlier. Marquest you are a sweety - I appreciated your advice.

Mandruch, I'm so glad you had them overwinter. I'm also a tad jealous!

This years canna experiments included:
1.Can they overwinter in an unheated shed. Answer "no"
2.And does seed grown Louis Cottin look identical to the parent. Answer "Yes!"
3. Is it a bad idea to put canna in a vase shaped ceramic pot? "yes" it takes a machette and a lot of hacking to remove it once it's potbound!

I suppose it would be fair to say that what happens in my garden doesn't have to happen in yours. Your results may vary. I hope they vary in a happy way!

New musings would include" Why do bees appear to sleep overnight IN the canna blooms? Shouldn't they go to the hive?


Where do the tree frogs come from that live on the canna? How do they overwinter?
Hmmm....always more to learn....


    Bookmark   November 10, 2007 at 8:02PM
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Interesting thread.

I'm not in zone 5 and so my Canna behave differently. But I do appreciate threads where people report their observations. I've only been doing the gardening hobby for little more than a year now and I tend to take a scientific tack to it, noting things like leaf rolling and leaf folding behavior, etc. How certain things stimulate or limit growth, height, length of leaves and so forth is always of interest.

That folks in colder zones root up and store their Canna Tubers and Banana Corms is something I don't find necessary in zone 9. And I am surprised that Mike Jarmillo ( Banana Forum ) has so many Banana growing in Chicago. His posts are quite amazing as I know, since I grew up in Chicago and wouldn't imagine Bananas being a plant for the back yard there. While Banana and Canna are related, they are not the same. Banana of course, are bigger plants. Folks can wrap Banana in place outdoors in tubing or pile leaves around them to keep them warm and even growing overwinter. Canna lovers might want to read some of the Banana threads as the plants do have similarities and shared gardening problems. Though not quite the same, the contrast of issues and resolutions might be revealing to you.

Keep reporting those observations. They are of interest.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2007 at 7:10AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

cheerpeople, I was thinking about you when I was looking at the Canna forum this summer. Good to see you are still growing and experimenting.

I am down to 10 from the 25 I started with. I had to make room for the gingers, bananas, and Brugmansias. I drag those pots in also. LOL

The issue of out growing the pot is true. I have been in a hurry and did not get around to replanting when I brought them out in the summer, Goodness that was a job I had to destroy that pot.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2007 at 3:55AM
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Hiya! I'm curious what 10 types where your favorite that you kept? LMK

Yes I too have fallen in love with other tropicals that get big or tall. That is why my canna got reduced too.

I'm into elephant ear odora. Got 5 ft tall and a 36 inch leaf. It multiplies well and is able to be in full sun to full shade.

Ornithogalum saundersai got 5'6" tall in bloom and mulitiplies from bulb or seed.

Amorphophallus konjac is so cool. 3 ft tall 4 ft leaf.Full sun to quite a bit of shade. I love the flowers too. What else makes a flower the size of my face after growing 3 inches a day!?

Papyrus- now 6 ft tall and looking good as a houseplant for winter.

There are sooo many nice- big- tall- tropical- options!
What are your biggest and tallest tropicals? No fair if you have a longer summer and live zone 6 or above;-)

ANOTHER truth 10 or 11!

Ohh I almost forgot the JUICY tidbit. You know the wives tale about needing to leave canna until after frost to dig? That never made sense to me so I asked a guy with a phD in horticulture and at the top of his game in a big plant company, if the tuber really benefits from waiting until frost...... and he said "NO" You see not much travels down a blackened with frost plant to aid the tuber. Another canna myth revealed:)

He said what DID matter was that the canna wounds had a time to dry in a shed etc before winter storage to minimize rot developing.


For some reason I can't get all 20 pics ( just a sub album) with this link- so click' album' and then you can see all 20 hopefully even Louis cottin .

    Bookmark   November 17, 2007 at 6:20AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

I have kept These were kept because of the leaf
Bengal Tiger
Black Knight

For flower and just big leaves in general
Tropical Sunrise
Miss Oklahoma

If you want big fast and fragrant flowers you need to get into the brugmansias, Canna Intrigue gets 6' so does my Stuttgart Canna. Those are my tallest. Big leaves are the EE's Black Magic, ALOCASIA LONGILOBA, ALOCASIA ILLUSTRIS, Alocasia macrorrhiza and Plumerias.

As you can see I have gone over the edge tropical. LOL!!! At the moment my laundry room is a jungle.

By the way I agree that wait for frost to bring down the cannas. I am

    Bookmark   November 17, 2007 at 8:53PM
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larry_c(z6 Stl. Mo.)

6. No matter how close to the foundation ( microclimate) you plant any canna if left outside in zone 5 is a dead canna

Excuse me Karen, But my twin brother has a patch of cannas right next to his house here in St. Louis. Never digs them. Covers them with some old boards and leafs. They have been there for years. Kinda shoots s hole in that belief.

As far as warming the ground I have great luck with pinning clear polyethylene film over the area that I am going to plant in and place it back after I plant in mid April until it gets warm. This is a tatic that I use for my veggie gardeing. Just like a long row cover except the plastic really heats the area up!!

And one last thing. I grow my prise cannas year around.Especially those that I want more of or I am going to share. After I divide them they go into dirt in the basement and are allowed to grow. I cut the tops as needed for space and let the bulbs get bigger !!! Other basic bulbs do get dry stored in peat moss.


    Bookmark   November 22, 2007 at 7:26PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Larry you are not crazy. My next door neighbor has had A canna patch in front of her house and never dig they come back every year. I think it is President. I am a zone 5-6. So I know it is possible.

Beleive me she does not protection or fertilizing. They were planted by the previous owners and she is not a gardener.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 8:39PM
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ottawa_basjoo_z5a(z5 ON)

Hi everyone, here in my canada zone 5a i have left my canna's outside next to the foundation, they come up every year.. i have pictures at www.webshots.com search for Ottawa_hardy_tropicals

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 12:08AM
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Hi Ottawa!
Nice pics there. I see you even got New Zealand flax to fill out. Mine just sat there ( sniff!) How did you overwinter that? I'm glad you and Marquest can or know people who can overwinter it outside! It doesn't work here. I don't have all the cement around like you do.
Thx for the link to your shots! It looks tropical.

That reminds me I recently took some shots of tropicals and storage here. I'll include the link at the bottom.

Marquest, Wonder if you are still here? I did pot up some canna in pots and moved them around not to grow bigger but to fill in a lonely spot. The potted ones for the most part didn't bloom and stayed quite short, so 'Tropicanna' was a foliage "Wow!" more than ' Louis Cottin'
The canna roots would grow out the drain holes and into the dirt if left in one spot for a while! I rarely watered them. We had a wet season. To keep them from tipping in the wind I broke a brick to fit in the bottom of the pot. Kind of a paperweight!

If you open the pics there are captions explaining how I store my tropicals.
I lost all my 'Bengal Tiger' Canna last winter and had to borrow some back from my sister in CA. Another downer is it really is a sunburn sensitive plant. I was very careful with the hose but still had brown sunburn spots on the leaves.
Perhaps due to a cooler summer the Louis Cottin rarely bloomed.

Beetles eat the canna flowers on all my varieties. Im reluctant to use pesticide because the hummingbirds and gray tree frogs do visit my canna.

I'm narrowing down my canna favorite list to this one- 'Tropicanna'
If you only get one- that's the one I recommend. At least you get months of unspotted foliage and late summer half chewed blooms!

thx again for the pics link, Ottawa

this is canna tropicanna this year. Not sure if the image will open here- if not it's in the link below.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 10:11AM
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Hi ottawa_basjoo_z5a,

I really can't believe your cannas does make it every year even without digging them. I have a Bengal Tiger in a pot and one didn't make it. This is even inside the house(67F). I dug the rhizome yesterday because it was starting to sag. I'm lucky that the rhizome still looks good. However, the other rhizome, it's rotten.

Are you sure it's canna? What type of canna is it? What zipcode are you in?


    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 8:56PM
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