Frequently Asked Questions

Do you ship cannas to Canada, Hawaii or Alaska?
For our Canadian friends, we are not able to ship cannas to Canada due to the expense of freight and required agriculture certificates. It is just too costly. For our friends in Hawaii and Alaska, we will gladly ship canna to you. Please contact us via phone or email to place your order. This allows us to give you a customized freight quote for your specific shipping address.
Do canna bulbs, or rhizomes, require division each year?
For zones 7-10 where cannas can be left in the ground over winter, the answer to this question is no. It is best to divide your cannas every two to three years. This can be done in spring after the threat of a hard, soil penetrating freeze. Either lift the entire clump of bulbs and divide, or simply thin out your cannas with a spade. For zones 6 and colder where cannas are lifted each fall, of course, go ahead and divide the bulbs.
How are canna bulbs divided?
We sell 3 to 5 eye bulbs. An eye is a nodule or growth point at various places on the bulb. New growth will develop from each of the eyes. After digging the clump of bulbs, shake off excess soil without damaging the bulbs. Simply break the clump into a few pieces and see what you have. You will find that the bulbs tend to have a natural breaking point. For best results, try to break the bulbs down to no less than three eyes. You may have a few small pieces left over. Don't throw them out--plant them, too!
Do cannas require dead heading?
Dead heading is the cutting of old or spent blooms from a flowering plant. It is our experience that dead heading is not required to improve blooming performance. However, cutting away the spent blooms will certainly improve the appearance of cannas. When dead heading, always cut just below the spent bloom head. Cutting too low can result in destroying future blooms developing within the stalk.
How do I control insects in my cannas?
Sevin, dust or spray, and Malathion will control most insects and worms in cannas. Orthene is a good product to use, as it kills on contact and is a systemic. Also, a 3-in-1 rose food contains a systemic insecticide that will fertilize and help to control insects and worms in cannas. You can find these chemicals in most garden centers.
How do I control leafrollers?
The canna leafroller caterpillars are rarely seen but have damaging effects on the foliage of cannas. Leafrollers make their home in new unrolled leaves or they roll up inside of an open leaf. Infested leaves appear shredded from the cocoon like web made by the leafroller. Some leaves are so damaged, they cannot open and may die. The infested plants are unable to bloom and appear quite ugly. We have found best results with Orthene. This chemical works on contact and as a systemic. There are many chemicals available. Always read the label carefully and use a chemical with which you are comfortable. It is important to discard the dead foliage during the winter. The larvae of canna leafrollers overwinter in the dead leaves. By removing the foliage, you will remove the majority of the insects.
What soil conditions do cannas require?
Cannas grow well in a wide range of soil conditions. As long as the soil is loose, fertile, well drained and free of grass and weeds, cannas will grow and bloom. (Water and sun requirements must be met as well!) Poor soil conditions, such as heavy clay or loose sand, can be amended with organic matter to improve growth and blooms. The pH factor of the soil is important to consider. We recommend a neutral pH. Cannas will not tolerate highly alkaline soil.
What is the latest information regarding the canna virus?
Within the last few years the horticulture community has experienced an epidemic explosion worldwide with newly found diseases in a multitude of their crops. Cannas have been no exception. Up until recently, science has been unable to reliably identify the cause of some of these diseases. In many of our minor horticulture plants, such as cannas, that reliable identification still remains difficult at best. At the present, there seems to be at least three, and likely four, identified viruses affecting cannas. There is still some debate over this issue and it is always possible to have others identified in the future. As some consumers likely know, virus plant infections and the symptoms produced can be both serious and at times nonexistent. This complicates the eradication of the virused plants. Symptoms appear more often in container grown cannas, especially those grown in the northern U.S. Many other plant diseases, as well as the growing environment, can produce plant symptoms that mimic virus infections. Not all growing symptoms are virus related. In most cases, plant symptoms are a result of several related conditions including possible virus infection. We are actively pursuing certification from Oklahoma State University in order to sell cannas with a virus free certification. We are doing this through two efforts: indexing cannas and replanting those that show no virus symptoms and through tissue culture. We do not expect this to be a short term endeavor. However, our work with OSU and improvements in our growing conditions over the past six years are providing a a great opportunities for cannas to remain a favorite go-to plant for gardeners and commercial growers alike.
How do I get the most out of cannas where I live, for example, in zone 3?
Container grown cannas are a great way to enjoy long lasting summer color, even in the shorter summer months of the northern United States. Here in Oklahoma, it takes about three months from the time the bulbs are planted until the cannas are in full bloom. We plant our fields April 1st and are consistently in full bloom by July 4th. You can start cannas indoors, in temperatures above 70-75 degrees, in containers approximately eight weeks before you plant them outside.
How and when do I dig cannas for winter storage?

Cannas do not have to be dug, or lifted, in some areas.

For zones 6 and colder, follow these easy steps to storing your cannas:

  • Dig cannas at the end of fall or after the first frost. (It is not necessary for cannas to be frosted prior to digging, but it is recommended.)
  • After digging the clumps of bulbs, remove soil by shaking or rinsing with water.
  • Divide clumps into 3-5 eye bulbs.
  • Place clumps in a plastic bag with several air holes, adding peat moss or rice hulls to maintain moisture balance.
  • Store in a cool, dark place between 45 and 55 degrees. Do not allow bulbs to dry out completely as this is the most common cause of failure.
Note: There are many ways to store canna bulbs. If you have a successful method other than what we recommend, don't change!
Do cannas have to be lifted, or dug, each fall?
Cannas are an herbaceous perennial and will freeze to the depth the ground freezes. In zones 8-10, cannas will over winter in the ground without the need to dig and store the bulbs. Zones 6 and 7 are marginal for cannas. They will survive during 'normal' winter conditions, but have a greater chance of freezing during a severe winter. It is important to mulch your cannas to help protect and insulate them. Cutting down the foliage after frost and covering with 6 - 8 inches of hay, straw, grass clippings, leaves or other mulch will provide effective protection from winter temperatures. Another factor regarding possibility of freeze is the placement of cannas in your yard. Cannas planted on the south side of a home or fence will almost always over winter. Cannas planted on the north side of a building or in the middle of a yard do not receive as much protection and will most likely freeze and die during the winter.

In Zones 6 and colder there are a couple of choices:

  • Treat them as an inexpensive annual and do not dig.
  • To replant in the spring, dig the bulbs and store in a cool dark place at around 50 degrees.