How to Care for Canna Lilies in the Winter


Canna lilies add a brilliant splash of tropical color to the landscape. They're easy to grow in the Southern states, and with just a little more care you can enjoy this tender perennial in the Northern states as well. Here's how to care for these garden beauties.

Step 1

Dig up canna lilies after or just before the first hard frost if you live in Zone 5 or above (see References for a gardening zone map). Brush off the dirt gently and store the lily corms in a dark location that is cool (below 55 degrees Fahrenheit) but stays above freezing. Be sure they have sufficient air circulation; too much humidity will cause them to mold and rot. Divide and replant in the spring after the ground thaws.

Step 2

Leave canna lily corms in the ground in the Southern states, Zone 6 or below.

Step 3

Cut back the foliage, after it begins dying, to a few inches above the ground, then mulch heavily all around and on the base of the plant, sprinkling mulch over the remaining foliage to create a warm layer of about 3 or 4 inches.

Step 4

Rake the mulch back in early spring, after the last frost and as the ground starts warming up.

Step 5

Dig up and divide the canna lily corms every two to three years.


  • "Fall Care for Tender Perennials"; Don Janssen, Extension Educator, University of Nebraska Extension.
  • US Zone Finder: National Gardening Association
Keywords: canna lilies, winter cannas, winter care bulbs

About this Author

Annie Mueller is a writer, editor, professional blogger, website designer, and tutor. She attended Missouri Baptist College and earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Mississippi State University, with a Summa Cum Laude standing. She has written extensively on gardening, parenting, education, and personal growth for women.