Digging Up Canna Bulbs for Winter
In the Midwest we find ourselves digging up canna bulbs to store for winter.
If we chose not to; we will lose our plant and have to purchase new bulbs the following spring. Some gardeners prefer to purchase yearly.
Others, including myself, will lift our bulbs and reuse them.
When Gardeners Get Rid of Goodies
I chose to pot my canna bulbs. It makes lifting the bulbs from the soil easy. I wait until the first frost to divide my canna plants. When the foliage has started to die back and our nights are getting cooler is the perfect time to start thinking about it.
CC BY 2.0 Maja Dumat
How to Divide & Winter a Canna Plant
1.) For potted plants, lift the plant from the container.
2.) If you have planted the bulbs in your garden, carefully dig around your plant to lift them from your soil.
Remember, bulbs planted in the ground do produce smaller bulbs over the growing season. Spreading. Dig out further from the plant so you do not damage the newly formed bulbs.
Remaining Steps are the Same for Potted and In-Ground Plants
Once you have lifted your plant, cut off the foliage to about 2″ above the bulbs.
Flip your plant over and start to separate the root balls of the bulbs. Use scissors and/or a knife to cut and separate your bulbs. I try and leave a good portion of my roots intact.
Here is a close up of a separated bulb.
Continue separating all of your bulbs. After you have finished, your bulbs will look like mine below.
If you wish, now is the time to trim some of your roots. Again, I chose to leave mine on the long side.
I do not wash my bulbs. I lay them on newspaper in a dark closet to cure for a week. Curing hardens the outer skin of the bulb to prevent rotting during storage.
After curing for a week, I gently brush off the extra dirt and wrap the bulbs in newspaper.
All the bulbs get stored together, in a paper bag label by color. I then store them during the winter in my cool basement.
Each month I will check the bulbs for rotting. Discard any rotten bulbs.
Inground: After the danger of frost passing in the spring, you can plant them in the ground.
In Pots: If repotting, you can repot them just before Easter and leave by a sunny window; indoors.
When placing the potted plant outside, be sure to slowly get the plant use to the temps. A few hours at a time.