Cannas: To Dig or Not to Dig

The cannas had a nice long growing season but last week’s hard frost brought that to an abrupt end. Now gardeners need to decide: do you dig and store your cannas; or just let them freeze and buy new ones next year?

Since I have such a hard time throwing out plants, I always dig them and find room for them somewhere.

It’s easy enough to save them for planting next spring. First cut the tops off, I like to leave a couple of inches of stem attached to the roots. Then dig the rhizome clumps out with a garden fork. Set them in a garage or some place away from freezing temperatures and let them dry.

Move the clumps — soil and all — to a spot where they won’t freeze. They’ll stay dormant and keep until spring. Some gardeners like to crate-up and pack cannas in dried peat moss. That allows more efficient use of storage space, especially if you have a lot of rhizomes to deal with.

I usually let potted cannas stay right in their pots over winter. They take up more space but I save some time doing it that way.

There are reality TV shows about hoarding things and animals; do you think they’ll ever do one about hoarding plants? Maybe I’ll pitch that idea to the “new” Michigan Film Office

Bob Dluzen
As a result of being a gardener for more than 40 years, 30 of those as a professional, Bob's gardening has become an integral part of his life. "It's the ever-changing seasons and the wide variety of plants and gardens that keeps me intrigued," he says. Bob lives and gardens in rural Monroe County.