Winter Care for Canna Lilies


Canna lilies (Canna spp.) are large, tropical plants with vibrantly colored flowers and huge, multicolored leaves. Cannas grow from rhizomes and can grow year-round in subtropical to tropical climates where the ground doesn't freeze. In cold-winter climates, canna lilies need special care in order to survive until spring. Cannas thrive in full to partial sunlight and in moist soils or boggy sites. Canna lily species and cultivated varieties range in size from less than 3 feet tall to more than 8 feet in height.

Step 1

Cut the canna lily plants back to about 6 inches above the ground level after the first hard, killing frost. Cut the plants back only after the foliage dies.

Step 2

Dig up each canna lily clump with the rhizomes. Carefully lift up the rhizomes using a shovel, spade or hand-held garden trowel, digging down at least 12 inches into the soil to minimize damage to the plant.

Step 3

Brush off the soil from the canna lily rhizomes. Place the rhizomes into a cardboard box lined with plastic and filled with peat moss or perlite.

Step 4

Arrange the canna lily rhizomes in the box so that they aren't touching each other. Store the box in a dry, dark area at an air temperature of 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't replant the canna lily rhizomes until all danger of frost has passed in the spring. Wait until the soil has warmed up.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Shovel, spade or garden trowel
  • Cardboard box
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Peat moss or perlite
  • Mulch (optional)


  • National Gardening Association: Plant Care Guides -- Canna
  • FloriData: Canna X generalis

Who Can Help

  • Canna Lily Growing Information
Keywords: canna winter care, canna lily care, grow canna lilies

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.