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Old 11-11-2009, 11:13 AM   #1
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Storing Canna's for the winter


Does anyone else have Canna plants they dig up and store for the winter? I have mine in the house already. But I'm wondering if there is a better, faster or easier way get them from the ground to being dried and stored inside.

Every year, once the frost has wilted the leaves, I dig the plants up with a pitch fork. Then I cut the stem off at the top of the bulb (actually a tuber). I wash all the dirt off with the garden hose outside.

All of that takes a couple days. Drying them out before storing them is what takes so long. I lay them all out on the deck on the nice days, but they have to be brought in at the end of the day if it gets too cold at night. Plus the squirrels take them. Otherwise I lay them on news papers on the floor in an extra room to dry.

They're stored in plastic bins (with the lid off to keep the moisture from building up and causing them to rot) in single layers between sheets of news paper.

Here's what they look like when they're still pretty small.

Storing Canna's for the winter-dsc09792.jpg-re-sized.jpg

This is what they look like before being stored for winter, once they've dried out for a few weeks.

Storing Canna's for the winter-dsc03971.jpg-re-sized.jpg

Is there a different process of getting them ready to be stored?
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Old 11-11-2009, 12:14 PM   #2
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Storing Canna's for the winter


Thanks for reminding me ! I'm going out to dig mine up
I usually wait for dry weather & just brush the dirt off as much as possible
I don;t use a hose, so that might help a bit
Depends upon your dirt too...mine comes off pretty easy
I'll be drying mine in the garage, or the green house - stays warmer
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Old 11-11-2009, 12:42 PM   #3
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Storing Canna's for the winter


Good idea, it would be nice to dry them in a place where they don't have to be moved every day.

Did yours get very tall this year?

I started mine indoors in March, so they were about 18" to 2' tall when I planted them outside. Some of them didn't get any taller than 2.5' tall throughout the entire summer.

I planted all of them in 8 separate patches around the yard, with about 20 to 30 plants in each patch. Only two of the patches had plants that got about 5.5' tall. Every other year almost all of them get to about 6' tall or more. But it wasn't a very warm summer, so maybe that was why.
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Old 11-11-2009, 12:44 PM   #4
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Storing Canna's for the winter


We had a lousy wet Spring. so they didn't get very tall
I may try a differeny location next year - along the South side of the addition
More sun & much warmer
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Old 11-11-2009, 01:54 PM   #5
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Storing Canna's for the winter


I've had cannas for only a couple of years, but a green-thumb neighbor told me to brush (not wash) the dirt off and store them in a closed container indoors with some vermiculite mixed in. Mine got really tall the first year but not so much this past summer.
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Old 11-11-2009, 02:29 PM   #6
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Storing Canna's for the winter


I used to brush the dirt off. But gosh it took a lot of time and I couldn't get the dirt out of the tight spots. Washing the dirt off probably adds another day of drying time, but it's faster.

For years I bought the shredded dog bedding and stored them in that inside of the big plastic tubs with the lid on. But every year the ones on the bottom were already growing by the time I got them out to plant. And some of them were rotted because the lid trapped the moisture in all winter. Plus some of the bedding would be damp. Even though they dry for a long time before their stored, there is still some moisture inside of them that escapes.

A master gardener at a local nursery has a gardening radio show on AM radio in Grand Rapids. He says to store them in vermiculite, just like you said, with the lid off.

For a few years, I waited until the last minute to buy the vermiculite and the stores were sold out. A couple years ago I found some, but it was about $6 for a very small bag of it. I didn't buy it because I would need a lot of bags.

So I started layering them in the tubs with multiple sheets of news paper between each layer. I make sure none of the bulbs are touching each other.

Last year I stored them in the coolest part of the basement with a black blanket draped over the top of them. It kept the light out, but allowed the moisture to escape. None of them rotted and they hadn't started growing when I got them out. That could have been pure luck though. lol
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Old 11-14-2009, 06:14 AM   #7
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Storing Canna's for the winter


Have had no personal experience with cannas, tho' my info guide suggests they grow best in a very sunny, warm sheltered location with well-drained, rich soil. After cutting stalks short in autumn, raise tubers (I have never hosed tubers of any kind off, just let them dry & remove dirt manually) & should be stored in moderate warmth in slightly moistened sand so that they do not dry out completely. Personally, would recommend a cardboard box with cloth covering to ensure darkness & ventilation. Sand would also be less costly than the alternative (vermiculite) previously suggested. Divide at end of Feb. making certain each piece has an eye. Plant in pots with fresh compost until May at steady temp of 18 - 20C, harden & plant in garden @ end of May or beginning of June. Ya never know 'til ya try it. Hope this helps y'all. God Bless.
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