The canna, also known as the canna, enchants many gardens with its colorful flowers. However, this tropical beauty needs extra attention in winter. Below is a brief guide to overwintering.

Exotic in the garden

Unfortunately, like all tropical plants, this perennial is not completely winter-proof in this country. However, the canna does not have to be disposed of after the flowering period. It is not particularly difficult to get the rhizomes through the winter well. Incidentally, you can also save costs for the new purchase in the following year. But not only that, such overwintered plants become stronger and more beautiful in growth from year to year. The care during this time is relatively low. However, some preparations are necessary before moving to the winter quarters.

Note: The Canna can be planted out in the flower bed. Dwarf forms such as ‘Ambassador’, ‘City of Portland’ or ‘Tropical Yellow’ are ideal for planting in pots or tubs. They reach a maximum size of up to 90cm.

Choose the right time

Canna cannot simply be allowed to overwinter. A few measures are necessary beforehand so that the rhizome will sprout again in spring. It is important that the right time is chosen. The plant must not move to its winter quarters too early, but also not too late. After flowering, the canna still needs some time to transfer the remaining nutrients from the leaves and stem to the rhizome. This process is usually complete when the leaves and pseudostem turn brown-orange after the first cold nights. Now the time has come to properly prepare the plant for wintering. Here’s a quick guide on how to do it:

  • Cut back the shoots at the end of October/beginning of November
  • Shorten to 5 to 10 cm
  • Using sharp, sanitized scissors
  • Carefully dig out the rhizome
  • Using a digging fork, spade or shovel
  • Use it to pierce around the plant and lever up
  • Remove soil completely with a soft brush or paintbrush
  • then rinse thoroughly with water
  • remove dried, rotten hair roots
  • also careful removal of damaged, rotten root pieces
  • use a sharp, disinfected knife
  • Sprinkle cuts with charcoal ash
  • prevents rot

It is important that the rhizomes then dry well in a shady, airy place for a few days. During this time, storage on a grid or stable wire mesh would be ideal so that the roots can dry well from all sides. Only then can the move to the winter quarters take place.

Tip: You can simply divide large rhizomes into smaller pieces and use them for propagation.

Winter in the dark

Before the rhizomes come indoors to overwinter, they should be sprayed all over with a quinosol solution. This agent prevents rotting and also prevents the formation of mold in winter storage. Chinosol is available in pharmacies. The application is simple:

  • 1 g Chinosol
  • Dissolve in 1 liter of lime-free water
  • Transfer to hand sprayer

The canna rhizomes prepared in this way can then overwinter without any problems. The winter quarters must be frost-free, dark, air-dry and cool. It should be noted

  • Temperatures between 5 and 10 °C
  • not above 15 °C
  • Plants otherwise do not rest and
  • drive out prematurely
  • Check weekly for brown spots
  • Cut out any small patches of rot that may be present
  • Seal cuts with charcoal ash

Various storage options

The rhizomes can be stored in different ways:

  • Wrap rhizomes in newspaper several times
  • do not use glossy paper
  • then put them next to each other in boxes/cartons
  • alternative storage in a pot
  • place one or more rhizomes next to each other in the container
  • fill with potting soil, sand, peat or sawdust
  • do not water and do not fertilize

However, the rhizomes must not dry out completely during the winter. Therefore, the substrate in the pot or the newspaper must be lightly sprayed with water at intervals.

Tip: If the place to hibernate is not really dark, an opaque jute bag can be put over the bucket or box. This prevents the incidence of light.

Canna overwinter in the bucket

Of course, there is also the option of overwintering a canna planted in a tub directly in the pot. Since she is not winterproof here either, she has to move indoors. The plant is cut back to five centimeters. Care must be taken to ensure that the substrate in the pot is dry. If this is not the case, the plant will not rest and will keep trying to draw moisture into the trunk. The cut stems are then always moist on the cut surface. This in turn is a good breeding ground for fungi and other diseases. The substrate in the pot must therefore dry before putting it away. If water keeps forming on the tips of the shoots, it is advisable to take the rhizomes out of the pot and treat and store them as described above.

Hibernation in the bed

Within the winter hardiness zone Z 8, cannas are only partially winterproof in this country. However, the temperatures must not fall below – 10 °C. The rhizomes are not damaged at temperatures down to -10 °C deep in the ground. However, it must be noted that such hibernation is not possible in all parts of Germany. In mild river valleys on the Lower Rhine and in wine-growing areas, the flowering cane can remain in the bed during the winter. A few measures are necessary for this:

  • Cut back a hand’s breadth above the ground in early November
  • Application of a 15 to 20 cm thick layer of mulch to the root disk
  • ideally suited leaves, straw, brushwood, fir green
  • possibly use of a water- and air-permeable garden fleece
Note: The canna can already be advanced in February/March. To do this, put the rhizomes in a pot, just cover with soil, keep warm and water gently. Planting out in the garden or in the bucket can take place in mid-May.

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