Bulb Care for Canna Lilies


Canna lilies are beautiful, trouble-free perennials with a striking, tropical appearance. Although canna lilies aren't difficult to grow, the bulbs are tender and won't tolerate freezing winter weather. Take a few minutes in the autumn to care for the canna lily bulbs, and the canna lilies will survive to beautify your garden for many years.

Step 1

Leave the canna foliage and leaves in place when the plants are finished blooming in autumn. Remove the foliage when it wilts and turns yellow.

Step 2

Dig canna lily bulbs in autumn before the first hard frost. Remove the canna lily bulbs carefully from the ground. Dig 6 to 8 inches away from the plant using a garden fork or spade. Continue digging around the plant, rocking the garden fork back and forth to loosen the roots. Lift the bulbs carefully from the ground.

Step 3

Trim the stem from the bulb, leaving about 4 inches of stem intact. Wash the bulbs with a garden hose.

Step 4

Place the bulbs in a warm place where they will be protected from direct sunlight, rain or hot wind. Leave the bulbs to cure for one to three days or until the bulbs feel dry to the touch.

Step 5

Place the bulbs in a shallow cardboard box filled with peat moss. Store the box in a safe place where the temperature will remain steadily between 50 and 55 degrees F. Never allow the bulbs to freeze.

Step 6

Check the canna bulbs periodically throughout the winter. Discard any bulbs that rot or turn soft. Re-plant the canna lilies in spring, after the last frost.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden fork
  • Spade
  • Garden hose
  • Cardboard box
  • Peat moss


  • University of Nebraska: Fall Care for Tender Perennials
  • University of Minnesota: Storing Tender Bulbs and Bulblike Structures
Keywords: bulb care, canna lily bulbs, canna lilies

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.