Thursday, May 05, 2005

I'm a gonna, cause I canna!

Planted the cannas today. They are a great plant (bulb actually) if you don't mind having to dig them up in Fall and plant them again in late Spring after danger of frost is over. Since we are by the lake and the last frost date was estimated to be May 25th, it was time.

close up of canna bulb: note 3 headed Rhizome

The one problem with them if you can call it that, is that every year you end up with twice as many bulbs. I had 2 large landscape size bags last Fall and I was only able to plant half of them.

bags o' cannas

In fact, often people get cannas as gifts for that very reason. That's how we got ours and now we are the givers. And what a gift it is. As with many other things, they are worth the extra trouble.
I have found that they do best in Full sun and they like some fertilizer for better flowering-Miracle Grow worked wonders last year. They don't start flowering till around August, but they constantly flower thru the first frost and then the foilage dies almost immediately. Then I go outside in my fleece jacket and have a nice autumn garden day digging them up and storing them for the winter in a cool but not freezing room (Think basement not unheated garage).

planting the bed

They need to be kept somewhat moist so they don't dry out. For the past few years I have stored them in a large landscape bag with some peat moss, sprinkling water over them and then they were fine all winter. I check them every month or so to make sure they aren't dried out.

They are best in the back of a bed because they get up to 6 feet tall and butterflies like 'em too!

Of course Mojo had to help too- he likes chewing on bulbs and in this case I had a few to spare.

"Hmm...this smells interesting..."


Emerld said...

WOW! Way too much work. Make sure you take pictures when they're flowering in August. I just planted 48 Marigolds!!! Out front, then 12 Silva or whatever in the back that I got from work . My next 2 things are the Lilac Bush and Purple Grass. I really wish I could upload pics. Maybe I'll do it to snapshot and put the link on my blog. I'm really into gardening this year too.

Ana said...

Thanks for this post. I am a rookie gardner and any information coming my way is gratefully accepted. I will probably buy some canas for my garden.

Kasmira said...

Gladiolas are SUPPOSEDLY tender here, but the POs never dug them up. The bulbs are not only still alive, but multiplying like rabbits. I keep finding more shoots where I don't want them. I gave my neighbor 12 or so bulbs last night. And that was just from a 6-inch diameter patch of earth.
Anyhow, I just wanted to share that I think our tender bulbs live through the winter because they are planted VERY deep (12 inches) and are near the house. If you get tired of digging yours up each fall, you might try the same location with a couple of bulbs to see how they fare.

SmilingJudy said...

LOVE cannas! Rightly so, a gardening friend and mentor gave me the gift of cannas about 5 years ago. I planted them out twice at my old house and they easily tripled in number. They were placed along the side of the house, near the bedroom windows. When a rain came through, the sound of the raindrops on the thick, heavy leaves made me feel like I was sleeping in a rainforest. Just lovely.

When I moved from that house oh so long ago, I left some in the ground for the new owners, harvested some for a friend, and some for myself. Enough rhizomes to fill about a half bag have been sitting in the basement ever since that move while I've concentrated on reno work. I dragged them out of the basement last weekend. I have little hope that there's anything left living, but I put them in the ground anyway. Maybe I'll get a surprise. If not, at least they received a proper burial (and one less box out of the basement!).

Jocelyn said...

I have seen them do well not dug up next to buildings too. The only problem is our front yard, which is the spot that would work that way, isn't sunny enough for them. I am going to take leftover bulbs over to my Mom's condo building and plant them beside her building in front where I think they will do well. I never heard that about the gladiolas- good to know that!

and here's to cleaning out that basement- I know I was relieved to get those bags out myself!

Jocelyn said...

Jen- you might be able to leave them in the ground in St. Louis too if they are next to your house- just in case you're interested- I love lilacs too so fragrant!

Anonymous said...

I just picked up some free canas, I am not sure how deep to plant them. I put them in really shallow like iris'. Do i need to plant them deeper?

Jocelyn said...

Michelle- What I've read is 6-12 inches deep and that is what I've done the past 4 years with success. I have found if you water them with some Miracle Grow a few times early on, it pays off with many more flowers. They like about 1 inch of water a week and full sun is best. In shade, they won't grow as tall or produce near as many flowers- I've tried. Good news is that butterflies like them too! Thanks for stopping by and good luck.