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Cannas 101

This is a discussion on Cannas 101 within the The Jungle forums, part of the Land Plants category; Cannas are new to me, but I just bought a dozen red bulbs of 'The ...

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  1. #1
    Piper's Avatar
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    Default Cannas 101

    Cannas are new to me, but I just bought a dozen red bulbs of 'The President'. Thought I'd give them a try. What do I need to know about them?

    Julie

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    Julie

    I'm glad you started this. I was going to do something similar. Here's what I do.

    Because of where I live (tundra land, you know) I always start mine indoors around the 3rd week of March. If I don't, I never see blooms until the frost arrives. I came up with this method a few years ago and it's really worked well for me.

    I start them in plastic, ziplock bags. They don't take up as much space this way as when you use round or square pots. I use plain old premoistened peat and put about 3 inches in the bottom of the bag. Make sure you punch some holes in the bottom of the bag for drainage. The canna goes in next and some more peat (an inch or two) on top. Moisten slightly and close the page. Put them in a warm place (light isn't really needed at this point) and watch for root growth. Once I see that, I start giving a bit more water and some very dilute fertilizer. Once top growth starts, I put them in the sunniest spot I have.

    When you're ready to plant out, just cut the bag away. Cannas do not like cold, so make sure it's warm outside before you plant out. During the growing season, they like a lot of water and tons of fertilizer.

    Here's a pic of some of the ones I have going right now.


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    What temp should my nights be above before I move them outside?

    I haven't seen a lot of canna landscaping - do they look better in a clump rather than as a border (ie, in a line)?

    Julie

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    I think most people say to wait until the night temps are near 60. Cannas are plants you do not want to rush outside. Cold will really set them back. Once it's warm or even hot they grow like mad. Around here, most people say not to even plant them outside until June. Of course, I can't wait that long, but a couple of years I did put them out too early and almost lost a few.

    I like doing cannas in clumps or as single specimen plants. In my opinion, nothing looks good in a straight line.

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    How do you store them in the winter , after digging them up ? Gin

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    Gin

    I have a very cold part of my basement (35-40 F). After I dig them and wash them, I let them dry for a few days and then pack them in dry peat in plastic containers with covers. They keep perfectly all winter.

    Most people think I'm nuts to cover the containers - they say the things will rot, but I've never had one do that. Maybe because my basement is so cold.

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    That makes sense , I tried them one year and after they were washed and dried , stored, they rotted guess it was not cool enough in the area I put them in. Do you have a Clivia ?

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    Hi Kev,

    The package only says to plant after threat of frost is over. Sounds like they're aren't quite that cold tolerant. Are they not perennial? You need to dig 'em up each year?????

    Julie

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    Julie

    They're only ground hardy in zones 8-11 and then with a deep mulch. Again, they really don't like cold. I have heard of some people in the Eastern US leaving them in the ground, but I think that would be difficult.

    I've also heard from another grower in the South that some varieties seem to be better at taking winters outdoors. According to her, the white or near white varieties are the least hardy. I'm not sure why that would be, probably because they are also the most expensive to replace.

    Gin

    Yes, I do have a couple of clivia. I like them a lot. I have the Clivia minata (the smaller orange one) and the citrinus (the yellow). Both I raised from seed. If I were to start collecting other houseplants, clivia would be right on top of the list.

    You can store cannas in not-so-cold temps. I would still use the very dry peat and don't put them in covered containers. You might also want to try dusting them with sulphur before putting them away for the winter.

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    This has been a most informative thread! From Kev's comments (start indoors in March if you want blooms before frost), I've missed the boat for Cannas this year. I am, of course, even further north than Kev!

    So, could I (assuming I really wanted Cannas this year) buy an already growing plant in a nursery and get blooms this year? Or have I totally missed the boat?

    One of the reasons I'd like to try Cannas is they are supposedly attractive to hummingbirds--a great way to sort of combine two of my interests!

    And Julie raises a good point--just because a plant is *perennial* in its native land, does not necessarily mean you can grow it as a perennial in your area. I have noticed that their top growth is pretty much toast once you have even a light frost.

    And I agree--don't plant anything in a straight line!

    Cheers,

    Rob

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