Protecting Cannas for Winter

bunny6(7 AR)October 2, 2008

I got a few free cannas from a garage sell in the spring and I don't know the name of them, but I was wondering how do I protect them this winter. Do I leave them in the ground and mulch or dig them up and store them in my garage?



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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I have been mulching mine with big piles of leaves. If we have a cold winter they could freeze, but I have not had good luck wintering caladiums and similar things inside. A few years ago we did have a winter that killed them. I have not had cannas that long. You can do a search and find lots of information on what people do.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2008 at 11:35PM
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bunny6(7 AR)

Thanks Helen, I will just mulch over them. I looked on line, but all I found was info. about the North or deep South. Since we live some what in the middle, I wasn't sure what to do. The North states to dig them up and the deep South suggest to mulch them. I plan to transplant them into the tropical garden I plan to plant in the spring.
Ann :)

    Bookmark   October 3, 2008 at 12:11PM
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I tried three years in a row to dig my cannas and store them and they would either mold or dry out. I have better luck leaving them in the ground. I use the tops to mulch them with. Some of mine didn't return this spring but I think it was the excessive rain that we got. Mine get extra run-off from the roof of our shed.

I have been leaving tuberose in the ground and it returns every year but doesn't bloom so I guess if I want flowers, I need to dig those up and store them.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 9:51AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Christie, I tried tuberose once or twice with no success. I think I bought them in a package at Lowes or a similar store. Sometimes those aren't quality plants but I know nothing about tuberose to know a good one from a dud. Do you have experience getting them to bloom and if so what did you do?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 12:15PM
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bunny6(7 AR)

What is tuberose Canna? I read on the intenet that if you store Cannas then you have to keep them moist during the winter or they will dry out and die. I plan to buy more Cannas this spring. Is the ones from Lowes okay or should I buy on line? Anyone had luck buying them on line?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 1:11PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

A tuberose is another kind of plant that is not hardy here. It has a white fragrant flower. Where ever you buy cannas, you could get the canna virus. If you already have nice cannas that are healthy, be careful. Another gardener with excess would be safest, I think. I only know about this because my canna that I put in a pot wasn't doing well so I did a search. My plant fit the description.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 6:22PM
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I'm sorry Bunny. I just mentioned tuberose because even though they survive in the ground, they don't bloom for me and I've wondered if my cannas would bloom better if I dug those up and stored them rather than leaving them in the ground. If you store them, I think you can get a headstart by potting them up in late winter/early spring and maybe get earlier blooms that way. I wanted to try that but my bulbs have never made it long enough to find out.

I have gotten both the single and double tuberose and they bloomed for me the first year that I planted them then I dug and stored them in my garage the first winter and I think they bloomed the next summer too. One was more fragrant than the other but I can't remember which and I don't know which ones survived in the ground since they didn't bloom the last two or three summers since then. They need lots of sun and I think they like to be on the dryish side to bloom well. I need to dig them up and store them in my garage and then start them early to see if I can get them to bloom again. I just always get busy in the fall and forget.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 8:18PM
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bunny6(7 AR)

Thanks guys for explaining to me what a tuberose is. It sounds like a beautiful plant. I'll do a search on it just to see what it looks like, but it sounds too picky for me. I am lazy about storing plants for winter.

Helen- I am glad you told me about the virus. I'll post on the Canna Forum and see if anyone knows where to buy virus free Cannas. I would like to have some dwarf ones.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2008 at 2:29PM
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kaye(7a AR)

Bunny, we leave all our cannas in the ground over winter and let them wilt from the first freeze, leaving the leaves to self-mulch. The only ones we've ever lost were in the Ice Storm year of 2000 when we went down to 8 degrees sustained for days. Even then, the only ones we lost were the old green leafed variety.

Ours are still blooming now and as long as I deadhead them, they seem to bloom better.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 7:54PM
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bunny6(7 AR)

Kaye-Thanks. I won't cut my leaves off. Do you add more mulch over the leaves? Would it hurt to add more leaves on top of the plant leaves or would that hold too much moisture? I have only a few, so I hope they multiply quickly.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 9:32PM
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kaye(7a AR)

I've never had a problem with too much moisture over winter. I think I mentioned in your post about the banana trees..using the leaves there. We have one large tropical bed which some of the cannas grow in. When we cut the banana trees down, all the leaves are left on that bed thru the winter. We have papyrus, brusmania, elephant ears and banana trees planted together. Whatever gets cut off goes on that bed. If I don't have enough to cover, I will add pine needles or most anything that is taken off the plants that we move into the greenhouse for the cold months. I used to cover the brugs with a tub, thinking that might be too much moisture..not any more and they have been fine.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 9:42PM
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bunny6(7 AR)

Thanks alot everyone for your advice:)

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 7:20PM
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I have left my canna's in the ground since I planted them, they were cheap ones from Freds on sale 2pkgs for 5.00.
some froze out and I still have several big bunches. out of 8 plants from Brecks one grew. even on second time around,,,,go figure.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 2:12PM
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I live in zone 5-6. For two years I cut the leaves to just above the bulb and left them in the pot they were growing in. I then put them in the unheated garage for the winter. up until this past spring they all came up. This year only two of seven did. They did not freeze. Is there a better approach.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 6:51PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I leave mine outside to take their chances. I like to listen to Margaret Roach podcasts. She describes what she does if you scroll down to find cannas. I suspect voles eat cannas but I'm not sure. I had more than I have now and I think voles and rodents might like them in winter.

Here is a link that might be useful: wintering plants indoors

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 9:33PM
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Helen, thanks for the mention of Margaret Roach. I went to her website and it looks like there's lots of good information there.

I have red cannas that were given to me by a friend. They are neglected badly and they thrive. Of course I planted them after we had that freaky -23 degree morning the winter of the big snow and winters have been mild since then. They stay covered with their own stalks and leaves all winter. I guess I should be adding stuff to that. We get a lot of wind so the stalks are essential in keeping whatever else is there from blowing away.

My cannas made seed this year. Is that normal?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 7:17AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I subscribe to her (Margaret Roach) free podcasts on I tunes. She is from New York but I still get good information from them. She is a vegetarian so sometimes she talks about ways to use vegetables. She makes soup stock from bits and pieces of vegetables. If my little freezer wasn't full I might try making some.

not garden related - I have found that taco soup the easy kind made from canned beans, cream corn, Rotel and packets of seasoning can be frozen in my half pint wide mouth jars. I can defrost them in the microwave in a few minutes and have them for lunch. Fattening but you can eat it with corn chips and cheese and a few extra mild jalapenos.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 11:31AM
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