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When To Plant Canna Bulbs – Canna lilies are simple to cultivate perennials that are sometimes treated as annuals in colder climates because of their short flowering season. Originally tropical plants, they have now adapted to temperate climates. They are the sole genus in the Cannaceae family and are the only genus in the family.
Each of the ten species (and many more cultivars) of this plant has beautiful flowers that come in a wide range of colors, depending on which one you grow.
However, whether you grow cannas as annuals or perennials, you’ll need to dig them up every now and again — either to split them or to bring them inside for the winter.
Whenever this occurs, replanting is a bit more difficult (but not much more difficult) than just putting some bulbs into the ground if you want to get the best possible outcome.
How to Plant Canna Bulbs?
You’ll want to plant canna bulbs as soon as the threat of frost has passed, preferably in the spring. There are a lot of things that need to be done before you start planting in order for the flowers to last the longest.
Can Cannas have either rhizomes or bulbs, or both?
Before we go any further, it is necessary to confront the elephant in the room. Despite the common use of the name “canna bulbs,” canna lilies are really rhizomatous plants. It’s understandable that you would wonder why this is significant.
Rhizomes and canna bulbs, on the other hand, have quite distinct internal structures and must be planted in very different orientations. They are even separated in very different ways.
Even though we won’t be talking about canna division in this article, orientation is a must if you want your canvas to come out right. One further key difference to make is the interior structure, which will have an impact on what to check for while doing inspections on the vehicle.
The most straightforward method to explain the difference between rhizomes and bulbs is to compare potatoes and onions, or ginger and onions. In appearance, a rhizome resembles ginger, with thick, branching structures that may be easily separated by simply breaking them apart with your hands.
The inside of the potato is white and starchy, and the outside has eyes that look like potatoes. Meanwhile, bulbs are shaped like teardrops, with new growth springing from the top of each bulb.
The bulbs contain layers similar to those of an onion, and they typically have an outer rind that looks similar to that of onions and chives when you cut into them.
In order to avoid the numerous typical difficulties that result from forgetting which root system you’re dealing with, we strongly recommend you utilize the right terminology whenever possible (but also know that old habits can die hard).
What is the Best Time to Plant Canna Bulbs?
Cannas are not fond of cold, so you’ll want to wait until the threat of frost has passed before planting them. Growing cannas is taught in two separate ways, and both approaches are valid in their own right.
To get your cannas to bloom sooner, you can start them inside in pots as early as a month before the latest projected frost date. As a result, they will have an advantage while you are waiting for the right time to plant outside.
Other options include waiting until the last frost has gone and then planting straight into the ground after that time. If you choose this strategy, your flowers will still be healthy, but you may have to wait a bit longer to enjoy the beauty of your labor of love.
Cannas can be planted directly in the ground in early spring, unless you live in a frost-free zone. If you just got your canna rhizomes or are splitting your plants this year, this is very important.
Take a Closer Look at Your Rhizomes
When splitting rhizomes, or storing them for the winter, you’ll want to give them a check to be sure they’re still in good condition prior to putting them into the ground.
Check for dark or mushy places that might be signs of an infection. If you find them, either control the infection or remove the rhizome.
When done correctly, breaking a rhizome should reveal a white interior. Each rhizome should have a minimum of 2 to 3 eyeballs on it.
The last thing you can do is put the rhizomes in a solution of one part bleach to nine or ten parts water for half an hour, then let them air dry for a day or two to make sure they are free of fungal spores or bacteria.
Potting begins as soon as possible.
In order to plant an early-flowering canna rhizome, you’ll need a pot as well as potting soil that’s rich in organic matter and drains well.
Most plants, including canna lilies, benefit from the use of Miracle-Gro or a similar high-quality mix for African violets, along with a little more perlite.
After planting canna bulbs, you will most likely only need to water the container once or twice more. Soak and dry the soil so that it is always moist but not soggy, as in the soak and dry procedure.
Getting the Soil Ready
Choose a sunny location for the cannas and dig approximately 4 to 6 inches deep to soften the soil before putting them there.
Dwarf cannas should be spaced 1 foot apart, while taller kinds should be spaced 2 feet apart.
Add more organic matter, like peat or sphagnum moss, to organic compost to make it more acidic or more alkaline.
If you want to test the soil, a pH of 6.5 to 7.0 is ideal for the majority of plants, including cannas.
In wet places, you may also want to put a layer of coarse sand at the bottom of the hole to act as a buffer and/or mix some perlite or coarse sand straight into the soil to enhance drainage.
Putting the Rhizome in the Ground
Place the rhizome horizontally on the ground, with its eyes pointing upwards. This will ensure that the eyes are not damaged.
Add 3 to 6 inches of dirt around the rhizome to help it settle, and then water the area to help it settle even further.
Rhizomes that have been given a head start should be planted at the same depth they were at when they were in the container.
In warmer climates, you may opt to make the uppermost layer of mulch 1 inch thick in order to provide additional insulation, but this is not essential.