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How to Store Canna Bulbs for the Winter

Canna bulbs can be stored over winter and used in the spring for planting. If you live in more temperate climates, or zones 7 to 10, you can leave your canna bulb in the ground. For cooler zones, 6 and beyond, you’ll need to dig up these summertime bloomers and store them in a cool and dark area. Vibrant and colorful, the canna lily will create a lovely touch to any garden space.

Dig up the canna bulbs using a garden spade at the end of fall or after the first frost.

Insert the garden spade at a 45-degree angle and gently push the spade into the soil and under the bulb. Slowly lift the spade and pry the bulb up and out of the soil.

Remove the soil from the bulbs by gently shaking them. If dirt is caked on, you can rinse the bulbs with warm water. Allow the bulbs to dry two to three hours if you use this method.

Divide the bulb clumps into three to five bulbs and place them in a clean plastic bag. Using a fork, poke holes in the plastic bag for proper ventilation. Make sure you don't poke the bulbs.

Add a handful of peat moss to the plastic bag to help maintain moisture balance. Rice hulls can also be used to retain moisture and prevent bulbs from drying out.

Store the bulbs in a dark, cool space that is between 45 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Basements or dark cool closets are ideal. Periodically check the bulbs to make sure they are not dry, which can cause them to perish. Add fresh peat moss if the bulbs appear dry.

Winter Storage For Canna Lilies

Cannas require digging up after the foliage dies back in fall or early winter. Once the foliage dies, cut it to within 1 to 2 inches of the ground. After digging up the roots, rinse the excess soil from the roots so you can easily inspect them. Roots showing signs of pest damage, or those that appear diseased with soft or sunken spots, should be disposed of. Only healthy roots will survive storage. Arrange the roots so they don't touch each other and label the bag with the canna variety so you can quickly identify them in spring. Any location where temperatures remain between 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit provides a suitable storage option. You can replant canna roots in late winter or spring after the soil temperature has warmed above 40 degrees and frost danger has passed. Cannas should be planted in a location that receives full sun and has well-drained soil. The top of the root must sit about 4 inches beneath the soil surface, and the plants require 12 to 18 inches of space between roots.

Warning

Do not expose canna bulbs to sun or freezing temperatures.

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