Starting the canna dig

Recently I've been talking about winterizing -- getting my non cold-hardy plants protected for the winter. Those two cold nights we had early this week (21ºF) were the only real problem nights, with every other night at 27ºF or higher. Those two nights were enough though to make me bring dozens of potted plants into the garage, dig up elephant ear tubers, and cover my in-ground winter greens.

After the two cold nights passed I had some time to start organizing the pots that I hastily dragged inside just a few days before, and one of the tasks was to dig up some potted elephant ears and cannas -- a stack of empty pots stores much more easily than huge pots full of soil and tubers. Today let's look at the cannas.


This is Canna 'Paton', which I have so much of now as it really grows quickly to fill any pot I put it in -- as long as it gets plenty of water. This one pot has two years of growth in it, as I stored it last winter as-is. It was a bit root-bound:

Some of the rhizomes made it all the way to the bottom of the pot:

Most though were near the surface:

Since I know that this plant is quite vigorous I wasn't concerned about where I divided these. Canna growers who have given me divisions never seemed bothered about where the plants were cut up either, so I just went at it with my knife:

Behind that wall of roots were a few bricks that I had forgotten were put in there for some additional weight to help keep the pot from blowing over (it helped only slightly).

I'll put some of these divisions into a bucket of water in the garage, but most will just go into plastic bags and onto a shelf for the winter. I won't bother with cleaning off the soil.

As I said I just cut anywhere, but I'm pretty confident that's fine:

I'll probably break up some of these divisions into multiple plants in the spring. It's always nice to have plants to trade or give away, right?

I have a few smaller pots of this same Canna:

I'll get to them sometime soon -- or maybe I'll just leave them in the pots (in the garage). I'm pretty sure it won't matter either way, as these rhizomes are quite resilient.

I still have six or so in-ground Cannas that I need to dig up... although I'll leave a couple of those in the ground all winter with a layer of leaves as mulch and see if they survive. I know there are houses in the area that have Cannas every year in the same place, and I can't imagine that all of those are dug up and replanted every year.

I like experimenting to see how little I have to do to get the "tender" plants through the winter, and it's easy to try new things when the plant is so easy to propagate.

If anybody wants some Canna 'Paton' next year, let's arrange a plant trade! My email address is on my "about me" page. (It's never too early to start thinking about next year's garden.)


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scottweberpdx  – (November 29, 2012 at 9:32 AM)  

Ah yes...I remember back when I was a kid, my dad had tons of Cannas that we'd dig up every fall...oh, and his HUNDREDS of Gladioulus. Every year, we'd have more and more...after a while, we couldn't give the extras away fast enough!

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (November 29, 2012 at 9:58 AM)  

I seem to give canna rhizomes away every spring. They do multiply like crazy!

I'm very curious to see how hardy cannas really are. It'd be awesome if they survived in the ground in your garden.

danger garden  – (November 29, 2012 at 11:22 AM)  

"It's never too early to start thinking about next year's garden"...hallelujah!

Christine  – (December 2, 2012 at 5:02 AM)  

My first year growing these. They overwintered fine in the garden and coming back beautifully. I really admire how you care for the plants over winter.

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