Fall Harvest at Horn Canna Farm

 

Cannas are known for summer-long color even on the hottest of days.  Cannas pump out color when other flowers are in the survival modes of late July and early August heat waves.  They even bloom well into late fall in many parts of the country.  Yes, cannas are all that and more!  But how is the best way to enjoy cannas for years on end?  Do you have to dig cannas in the winter?  It depends on where you live.

 

Know Your Zone

Cannas planted in zones 8 and warmer can be left in the ground all winter.  Zone 7 is middle ground for determining what to do with cannas in the winter.  Digging cannas in the late fall is necessary to overwinter cannas in zones 6 and colder.  Not sure of your zone?  Here is a great interactive map to help.

So what about zone 7?  Cannas easily overwinter in the ground most years in zone 7.  It is always good to add several inches of grass clippings, leaves or hay straw for extra insulation.  Some winters are mild and cannas do not require added protection.  However, an extremely cold winter rolls around every decade or so that damages cannas even with a layer of protection.

 

Location.  Location.  Location.

Location can play a part in successfully overwintering cannas in the ground in zone 7.  Cannas planted on the south side of a house, wall, fence or building receive lots of southern sun in the winter.  They are also shielded from north winds in these protected areas, creating micro climates.  During more mild winters, cannas can overwinter in the ground even in zone 6 in micro climates such as these.

 

How to Store Cannas in Zone 6 and Colder

Here are a few basic steps for easy winter storage:

  • 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/rhizomes.
  • Place clumps in a plastic bag with several air holes, adding peat moss or rice hulls to maintain moisture balance.  You don't want to store cannas too moist or too dry.
  • Store in a cool, dark place between 45 and 55 degrees.

If you have further questions about  how to dig cannas or if we can be of help in some other way, please feel free to contact us by phone or use our contact page here.