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Growing Summer Blooming Flowers–Cannas

Cannas are a tropical looking plant with pretty foliage and bright colored flowers. They add a nice splash of color in the yard. They are grown from rhizomes and if you are in USDA zones 7 and above they will survive the winter without lifting. However if you live in zones 6 and lower and want to grow cannas, you will need to lift them in the fall after the foliage has been knocked back by frost. 

Planting Cannas in the Garden

Timing–plant the rhizome when the soil has warmed to at least 50°F.

Light–plant in full sun. If planted in part shade the plants will not have as colorful flowers.

Soil–they like moist soil that is at a pH of around 6-6.5. Plant around 2" deep and give them space , about 18-24" between rhizomes.

Location–cannas can grow 3-5' tall so position them along a fence or in the back of a planting.

Water–they require moist soil and you can amend the soil with compost to help increase water-holding capacity of the soil. You can also mulch to help conserve on water.

Fertilizing–cannas are heavy feeders so it will benefit from fertilizing a couple of times during the growing season.

Overwintering in Zones 7 and Above

Cut back the dead top growth and apply a layer of mulch to protect over the winter.

Lifting Cannas in the Fall

Once your foliage has died back from frost, cut the stems about 2" above the soil level. Using a garden fork or shovel dig up the rhizome. Careful not to dig too close to the rhizome as it can be damaged. Shake off any loose dirt and allow them to dry out or cure before storing away in newspaper or in a paper bag. Store in a greenhouse, basement or garage as long as they will not freeze in that location. 

If you are going them in pots, cut back the dead foliage and bring the pots indoors to a location that does not freeze. 

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