winter worries

andypythonOctober 1, 2006

Up until this morning I had what I thought was a solid plan to get my Cannas through the winter here in Victoria bc, if it ever comes...

Then, I went to a seminar at a local nursery and they discussed cannas, and suggested that you needed to lift them. They said that they may survive in the ground but that they tended to be less vigorous when left in the ground, and they were prone to rot in the cool damp we tend to get.

I was planning on leaving them in the ground. They are in a raised bed (three ties high), composed of soil, compost and sand, and is very well draining and about 12 inchs or so deep, more in some parts. The bed backs onto a retaining wall about 3ft or so high made of those interlocking allen blocks (I think)and faces north. There is a drain that runs behind the wall so there is no water coming from that direction. I was and I think still am planning to mulch the bed heavily, using full oak leaves for the top few inches to help sheild the bed from the rains a bit. I was going to run mesh to cover the mulch and hold it in place.

Could anyone from the PNW or BC coast give me some idea on their experience in this. I would prefer to leave them in the ground, but I really do not want to lose them. I do understand that it is more risky to leave them in the ground, but I was feeling pretty confident that what I had planned would work. Am I worrying to much?

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I thought for sure somebody more knowledgeable would have replied by now, but...

My zone is 8 also, with hot, dry, horrible summers.
Winters are wet & *I* think they're cold:
we typically get several nights of, say, 18 F cold, & last winter it got to 9 F one night. I do mulch my cannas, but many people here do not.

I never lift the cannas, & they grow like weeds & spread like rumors!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 3:35PM
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I was feeling pretty comfortable with what I had planned until the Nursery worker shook my confidence!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2006 at 11:50AM
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not_a_contessa(z5b S Central PA mtns.)

I think there is a HUGE difference between US zone 8 and Canadian zone 8. You might want to check it out before you decide about your cannas. I am in zone 6 US and I dug mine up to store for the winter. Now I need to find out how and where to store them.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2006 at 6:20PM
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nucci60(6 Ma.)

not a contessa, first let the rhizomes dry out a bit. don't store them with wet soil. you can store them in paper bags or card board boxes with a couple of holes for ventilation. you can throw in some sawdist or DRY mulch and keep them in a cool dark place where they won't freeze.More cannas are lost from rot from being put away wet, than from drying out

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 1:44PM
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not_a_contessa(z5b S Central PA mtns.)

Thanks Mucci60, that's pretty much what I'm doing with them, I have been able to store my Calla Lilies in a paper bag but now I have so many (they did good!) I'll have to use a box. I was wondering if perlite could be used as a storage medium.


    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 5:07PM
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oops, don't know my geography!

I thought her location was similar to the Pacific Northwest, which has large areas that are USDA Zone 8.

Anyway, I hope the minimum temps & wet winters I mentioned may be useful.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 5:10PM
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just re-read the original post, & the writer did ask for info from the PNW.

Our summers here are more brutal than most, but winter temps are probably much the same as PNW Zone 8.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 10:49PM
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I am still not sure, I am probably going to go half way. There are some that I want to move any way so those will be dug and stored and the others will be mulched and we will have to see what happens.

Our soil does not freeze very deeply if at all. We get maybe one week of consistant sub zero temps, and it is very rare that temps will stay below zero during the day time. Below here is a summary of our climate

I think that this would put us in a zone 8a/b range.

I will let you all know in the spring how it turns out.

Here is a link that might be useful: Victoria bc climate

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 12:06PM
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Well we had our first frosts this week and it killed back all my cannas and bananas. I dug up about half of the canna's, mostly those I was going to move in the spring any way and have them in peat in my basement. The rest got the mulch, about 6 inches or so of all types of leaves, some oak, maple and others mixed in. Looks good so far. Checked under the mulch on the second cold morning and the soil was not at all frozen, so far so good. Temps heading back up this week, with more of our usual rains.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 11:40PM
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dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)

I left canna tubers in the ground last winter in a nasty clay area. They lived but of course last winter was very mild. They were slow starting in the spring -- I found the same thing with my Brugs so I'm wondering what to do to get earlier blooms...I lifted one in the spring and put it into the g/h and it just took off and bloomed weeks earlier. btw, I left one tuber in a large wooden planter box and it rotted. I'm sure yours will live with all of the mulch but I think the trick will be helping the bed warm up early in the spring. Mine wasn't raised like yours so perhaps you will be just fine. Interesting pushing the envelope in our area.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 10:24AM
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I have a collection of fresh water tropical fish tanks, which require large amounts of water changes. What I did this summer and will do again next spring, was to pump the warm (80f) water from the tanks onto the beds. Plants, canna included seemed to appriciate it, full of nutrients as well. I figure that once we are out of frost danger I will see if I cannot get a jump start this year using the warm fish water to get things going. It will be interesting to see how those I have pulled do compared to those in the ground. I guess the ones I have pulled will have a head start as I plan to pot them in late winter. We will have to see.

Thanks for the local experience, I feel pretty confident that those in the ground wil be fine, but I guess I will have to wait to find out! thanks again.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2006 at 3:56AM
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eightoar(8b BC. Canada)

Hey Andypython,
How did the cannas go? I had mine all in pots with lots of growth still, then that big cold snap in November hit. Only had time to stick them in the greenhouse and they lost all their greenery.
Completely forgot about them till today and our sub zero temps. I doubt the greenhouse was much warmer then outside at -8 last night and I hope they have not all frozen solid.
Not sure if I should bring them in to the unheated garage or leave them in the greenhouse?
Any ideas?

    Bookmark   January 12, 2007 at 4:29PM
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if they freeze through they will be most likely toast. it has warmed back up now, but if it gets cold again, I hope it will not, but if it does I would bring them in. I really do not know how mine are, will not know until spring, but I have looked under the mulch a few times and it does seem that the soil has not frozen, even this last week so I am hopeful!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 5:58PM
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