Digging up Canna Bulbs for Winter

In the Midwest we need to lift and store many of our bulb plants for winter. Otherwise, if we chose not to; you will lose your 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.

If you follow my blog, you know I get many of my bulbs when I drop off my grass clippings at our local yard waste center. The canna bulbs I received were no different. It is an easy and inexpensive way to receive new bulbs and plants.

I chose to pot my canna bulbs so it makes lifting the bulbs from the soil easy. I wait until the first frost when the foliage has started to die back and our nights are getting cooler.

Lift the plant from the container. If you have planted the bulbs in your garden, carefully dig around your plant to lift them from your soil. Remember, they bulbs do produce smaller bulbs over the growing season and spread, so dig out further from the plant so you do not damage the newly formed bulbs.

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 and 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 they 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 brush off the extra dirt gently 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 and rotten bulbs.

All Photography on this page provided by Maja Dumat

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