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What you need:
  • Digging fork or spade
  • Wooden or cardboard box(1 or 2 gallon containers, optional)
  • Peat moss, sawdust or sand
Cannas are beautiful, dramatic summer-blooming bulbs that are hardier than most people think. However, they can be severely damaged by temperatures dropping below 0F. If you live in a region where this occurs regularly in winter, lift canna rhizomes and winter store them. After a hard frost, the foliage of your cannas will die back. Cut the stems back to about six inches.
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Use a garden fork to dig them up, being careful not to injure the roots. Wash the soil from the roots.
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Arrange the rhizomes in a cardboard box in an unheated garage or basement. Leave them to cure (dry) for several days. After a week or so, the rhizomes will have dried.
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Place them individually in 1- or 2-gallon pots, or in a single layer in a wooden or cardboard box. Make sure none of the rhizomes touch. Cover the rhizomes with clean, slightly moistened peat moss, sawdust, or sand. If you are overwintering cannas of more than one color or variety, label them and keep them separate. Store the cannas at 40-50F. An unheated basement is ideal.
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Check the rhizomes several times during the winter. Throw out any that are soft and rotten. If any appear to be drying out, lightly sprinkle the peat moss or sand with water. Once all danger of frost has passed, plant cannas outdoors in a sunny area. To start them early, plant in 1 or 2 gallon containers, and set in a greenhouse or sunny window.