Winter Care for Cannas


Canna lilies (Canna x generalis) are perennial tropical flowers. The large, flat leaves resemble a banana plant leaf. These tropical-looking leaves are green, brown, maroon and bronze variegated in white, cream, pink and red. Cannas reach 2 to 10 feet tall with large red, orange or yellow iris-like blossoms. Canna lilies are used for dramatic color spots, mass plantings, borders and as container plants. Cannas are planted outside year round in zones 8 to 12. In other zones, they need special winter care.

Step 1

Dig the clump of canna lilies up after a hard fall frost has blackened the leaves. Push the shovel under the canna lily and lift it out of the ground.

Step 2

Pull the canna plant apart carefully without damaging the roots. Shake off most of the soil.

Step 3

Cut the leaves and stems back with a sharp knife to 2 to 3 inches above the roots. Rinse the roots off gently with a hose.

Step 4

Lay the canna lilies in a shady, protected area for 24 hours to dry.

Step 5

Bury the trimmed and dried canna lilies in a box of peat moss. Store for the winter in a dark area with a temperature range of 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tips and Warnings

  • Canna lilies can tolerate temperatures around 0 degrees for a few days outside if mulched around the crowns. Crown rot will occur if cannas are exposed to sub-freezing temperatures without the protection of mulch.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Canna lilies
  • Sharp knife
  • Box
  • Peat moss


  • Alabama Cooperative Extension System: Canna Lilies for Alabama Gardens
  • University of Minnesota Extension Service: Calla and Canna Lilies
Keywords: canna winter care, canna bulb storage, canna bulb preservation

About this Author

Karen Carter has spent the last three years working as a technology specialist in the public school system. This position included hardware/software installation, customer support, and writing training manuals. She also spent four years as a newspaper editor/reporter at the Willapa Harbor Herald.