Canna lilies, or cannas, are tropical perennial plants known for their large leaves and brilliant summer flowers. Cannas are not true lilies; they are the only genus in the plant family Cannaceae. Canna lilies have large, lustrous leaves that are green, variegated green or variegated green with a variety of other colors--like bronze, maroon or brown--mixed in. The flowers are commonly red, yellow or orange, or a blend of those three colors. Canna lilies can quickly grow to heights of 2 to 10 feet depending upon cultivar and, due to their amazing color combinations, can draw attention to any garden or landscape. Replanting the canna lily usually takes place in the fall after the first frost, when the foliage begins to wither and die back for the season.
Cut back existing canna lily foliage. Trim the stems back to 2 to 3 inches long with a pair of bypass pruners. Clear the trimmed foliage from the area.
Dig up the canna lily roots, called rhizomes, with a garden shovel. Shake off any excess soil.
Let the stems dry, and then store canna lily rhizomes in a cool, dry place for the winter. The ideal spot would be a basement or other storage area where the temperatures stay between 40 and 50 degrees F, but don’t dip below freezing.
Dig holes the following spring for canna lily rhizomes in a sunny location with well-drained soil.
Break apart canna lily rhizomes with a shovel or sharp knife. A canna lily rhizome has growth points, called eyes, at various places along the root. Break the rhizomes so there are at least three eyes per root section.
Rinse the new canna lily rhizome pieces in a bucket with a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water, reducing the chances that any type of disease will contaminate the new roots.
Plant the rhizomes 3 to 4 inches deep and 1 1/2 to 3 feet apart. Backfill with top soil, and water thoroughly.