A Pot Full of Cannas (page 3)
by John Richmond
In hotter, frost free climates Cannas are evergreen. In Britain they can be overwintered as dormant rootstocks, kept almost dry and in reasonably warm conditions. I let the plant dry out, cut the leaves off and put the pot in a cupboard under the stairs.
By March I decided to see if I could coax the Canna back into life. Knocking it out of its pot and teasing apart the very matted rootball I found four fat, pale pink resting buds at the tips of dark brown rhizomes. These were separated and repotted into soil-less compost in a single 7 inch pot, watered and placed on the kitchen windowsill. Within a couple of weeks they'd sprouted into fat sheaves of leaves.
Two months later I had a pot full of healthy foliage growth. I hardened it off for growing outside and transferred the whole lot into a large, blue glazed pot. This now stands at a corner of the graveled sitting area next to the small pool I'd constructed in what used to be my tiny vegetable plot. By mid July the first of its flowers had unfolded from the bottom buds of the spike. Large, orange veined, pink confections held well above the impressive leaves. From the topmost bud to the base of the pot measures exactly four foot. At the time of writing, it now has three flower spikes, each one packed with buds yet to open, and there is promise of more to come as the rootstock has thrust up further sheaves of healthy leaves. It should remain in flower until the autumn.
About the Author John Richmond is a keen gardener who lives and works in the South West of England. He has a scientific background as a professional ecologist. He has written occasional articles for gardening and other magazines in Britain since 1984, specializing in garden wildlife issues and hardy plants. Correspondence from other gardeners is always welcome.