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Re-starting tubers after cold storage

Posted by dee_can 5b/6a Canada (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 7, 12 at 10:10

Hi, I think I've managed to over-winter my canna tuber. All I did last Fall was to take the canna tuber out of the pot (it was outdoors on my deck during the summer), and brush off most of the soil, but basically leave the tuber encased in soil to store. Not sure if that was the 'right' way, but I'll soon find out when I try to get it growing again.

Which has always been the problem for me - getting the tuber started. I've had no luck with store-bought tubers when I tried to get them growing under my indoor lights. I either under or over-watered them, and they ended up rotting. I actually tried not to keep the soil wet knowing the tubers would rot, but at the same time I didn't leave it dry either...

I'm wondering what the suggestions would be for restarting it indoors under lights. Should I do it now (our last frost day is usually mid-May); or should I wait and start it outside in May (I'm just worried it wouldn't get growing fast enough to flower by the time summer is over).

If I start it indoors, should I leave the soil dry until I see green sprouts (hopefully)?

Thanks for any help - I've seen lots of information on storing, but none on getting the tubers going again.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Re-starting tubers after cold storage

I did the same thing you did with my cannas last year....and they recently started "waking up" on their own...I was having little shoots coming out! So, I've potted some, and have them next to my patio door in the basement, and they're growing like wildfire. Those that I have not potted yet are sprouting still, I did mist them with water a few times over the winter.... I seriously just threw the rootballs in pails...


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RE: Re-starting tubers after cold storage

It sounds like yours' are doing great! Mine, not so much. Ha - I took the dried soil off the tuber yesterday, and I thought it would be nice and big, but it's the size of a peanut. lol I bought the canna already growing and potted last year, so I'm thinking it may have been started from seed.

I took the little peanut and put it in fresh soil. Unlike yours' though, mine isn't showing any green. Oh well, I'll see what happens.

Maybe I'll try your method next year, and mist every once and awhile. I may have kept it too dry.

Thanks for your reply.


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RE: Re-starting tubers after cold storage

I also kept mine in the basement....where it's warm. So I'm sure that's why they're "waking up." This was my first winter with them....and they're doing well. I just got a cleopatra recently....so looking forward to watching that continue to grow! I am going to pot up some Australia to give to a coworker...who's interested in cannas, but never had any. I'm after a tropicana/phaison and a bengal tiger this year!! LOVE my cannas...


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RE: Re-starting tubers after cold storage

  • Posted by edie_h 5bNY (Finger Lakes) (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 18, 12 at 23:32

Dee, the cannas for our public plantings get started April 1st, and we have a mid-May frost date too. The rhizomes are divided, potted, and sent to the greenhouse where they live until planting time. Last year I planted bare roots directly in the ground in May and that worked fine too. You have plenty of time.

I had a tiny Bengal Tiger last spring, started with two but one died. The survivor was still so small in the fall I was afraid to let it go dormant, so I potted it up and kept it on an east-facing windowsill. It only had two leaves, which it kept all winter. Now it's sending up a fresh shoot. I think for the baby cannas it might be easier to just keep them going.


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RE: Re-starting tubers after cold storage

grullablue, congrats on your canna success. Next time I might try warmer temps.

edie thank you for your advice. I didn't have much of a rhizome to separate unfortunately. I probably should have kept mine on the windowsill. I threw mine out yesterday because I dug around in the pot, and there was nothing there anymore - ha.


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RE: Re-starting tubers after cold storage

I did the same this last winter. After the frost, I cut the stems, dug them up and placed them (dirt and all) in a large pot. They were kept in my garage all through winter. I watered them a few time over the winter. They started to sprout a few weeks ago on their own. I planted them out last weekend, and so far they look very good.


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RE: Re-starting tubers after cold storage

i just pulled my Tubers out of my shed and some were stored in boxes and some where in paper bags with dry moss and some with the bags i bought them in with the holes. wel the box that was on the bottom of the shed was damp from the rain and it looks like alot of the tubers are rotted or mildew? there is a white substance on them ? so im just tossing them is this the right thing to do ?


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