With rumblings on the news about some extra cold weather heading our way we thought it would be a good idea to get our cannas out of the ground. They can survive hard frosts if they are left in the ground and given a heavy mulch, but the only way to be sure is to dig them up and get them under cover. The photo above shows the individual rhizomes, once they’ve been cleaned. Each one already has two new shoots ready to develop. We put them in pots, in compost, and keep them in a shed until February, when they can go into cold frames or into the greenhouse. By May they will have produced a fair amount of new growth and will be ready to plant out.
The photo below shows a single plant just before digging up, with all the foliage removed. It’s quite astonishing how it has bulked up over the last summer, even though conditions weren’t ideal for cannas. In fact what began as 36 plants in one bed have grown so much that they now fill 140 pots, most of which have two or three plants in them.
We had two beds planted with cannas last year, one of which we mulched with horse manure and the other with cow manure. The bed which has had the astonishing growth is the one with cow manure – or rocket fuel as we call it. The horse manure bed, which started with exactly the same number of plants and has had identical growing conditions has only filled 40 pots – in other words the rocket fuel is three times more powerful. This afternoon we’ve had another 15 tons of the stuff delivered – and we won’t be bothering with horse manure again.