Wintering Canna Bulbs

Wintering Canna bulbs or tubers is a concern in places where the ground freezes. It doesn't always involve removing the tubers from the soil. I'll explain:



Canna planted in a bed with palm trees. Orange Canna underplanting a trio of Pygmy Date palms.

There are two situations which would require you to winter the tubers. One, the ground freezes where you live. And two, the winters are wet where you live. Canna does not like to be cold and wet. The tubers will most likely rot if you leave them outside in cold, rainy weather.

There are two solutions. One, grow the Canna plants in pots. Then you can either continue to grow the plants through the winter or let them go dormant and store the pots--with the soil and Canna bulbs in them--in a cool, dry place until spring.

The second method of wintering Canna bulbs is to dig them up and store them in a cool room of your home or in a frost free garage.Each option has advantages and disadvantages.

Canna Collection, 3

Buy an Inexpensive Canna Collection, 3 Bulbs

Growing the plants on through the winter is the most attractive option to a keen gardener. Imagine the tropical splendor that just a few of these raucous bloomers would lend to your living room. There's nothing like bold, green leaves to chase away the winter blues.

The problem is space. These are not little window sill plants. To keep just three of them indoors would require a fair amount of floor space. And that's not even mentioning their light requirements. Most houses are a bit dark in the winter. Canna lilies need at least 6 hours of sun to grow and bloom well. You might need to supplement with artificial light.

If this is the way you chose to take, feed and water the plants lightly until spring.

If you lack the space to pursue this option, you can cut the stalks back hard, leaving just an inch or so above the soil and place the pots in a cool place until spring. The temperature needs to be above freezing but below 55 degrees F. The Canna lilies will sleep through the winter.

Keep the soil in the pot on the dry side of moist during this period. Don't let it get bone dry or the tubers could shrivel.

If the tubers are in the ground you'll have to lift them. Dig them up with as much soil around the roots as possible. You want the soil to be barely moist when you store them. If it's too wet when you first dig them up, let it dry out for a couple of days.

When the moisture level is right, place the root balls into clear plastic trash bags. This way, you can monitor the roots while wintering Canna bulbs without having to open the bags.

Fold the top of the bag over to close it. You don't want to be wintering Canna bulbs in an air tight bag. Now, store the bag under the same conditions I gave above for the pots. If it gets too warm, the bulbs will start to sprout.

When all danger of frost has passed, you can replant the tubers.

If you have been growing the plants in the house, wait until it's almost as warm outside as it is inside before you move them out. Start them out in the shade and move them gradually into higher light to avoid burning the leaves.


Canna x Generalis

Canna X generalis is the result of crossing Canna indica with other Canna species.

Heliconia Rostrata

The pendant red and yellow bracts of Heliconia rostrata make it one of the most rewarding Heliconia plants you can grow. It is commonly called the lobster claw plant because of the shape of its bracts which can appear at any time during the growing season.

Primula x Polyantha

Primula x polyantha blooms reliably throughout the winter and spring. Although it is perennial, it is best to grow new plants from seed each year.

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