Overwintering Canna

Yesterday was a beautiful day. Unbroken sunshine, the thermometer reaching 10 C (50F) and no wind, flat calm not a zephyr. The sun felt as if it had some strength in it, spring isn't far away. All this after weeks of low temperatures and hard frosts. Goodness me, how an improvement in the weather can lift the spirits eh.

Here's a curious bit of information for you. If at any time you decide that it is vital you know the sun's precise elevation where you are, then simply point your browser to http://www.timeanddate.com/ and click on the sunrise/sunset calculator, it also tells you the precise length of daylight for each day of the year- really quite addictive. Here in the Dordogne, just shy of the 45th parallel, today is exactly 1 minute and 32 seconds longer than yesterday

With some trepidation I have decided to give my stored Canna tubers a health check. I say with trepidation as I never know what I might find. Maybe they've started to rot! Quelle horreur! Luckily, they haven't. All is well, they're in good shape and here's a pic of one next to the storage bucket which is filled with slightly damp multi purpose compost.

Nine tubers in all, these are the rhizomes of Canna Phasion aka Durban, a medium sized Canna with unusual variegated foliage and bold almost shocking orange flowers. This year I'm going to grow it in the stone planter on the terrace outside La Grande Maison. If you click the picture you can see pink Verbena growing and covering the tub next to the sun lounger, that's where the Canna will be this Summer.

Incidently, If you're into growing the occasional exotic, you really should visit www.cooltropicalplants.com an absolute mine of information and all based around a flourishing tropical garden in Ealing, West London. Yes, Ealing, West London. Also of note is that the garden has been accepted into the UK's National Garden Scheme, no small achievement!


  1. I left my cannas in the ground for another year. They are salmon pink, not my favorite magenta, so I don't treat them very well. They will survive to spite me again to spoil the color combo. They tricked me with the name "Tropical ROSE" so it's not my fault. :-)

    There are some gorgeous cannas and I love the orange colors. My "wish list" is to plant a stock tank (an animal water trough) with cannas to use as screening around our outdoor shower by the pool.


  2. Wow, that would make a seriously beautiful screen. I bet canna grows really well in the hot North Carolina summer. I'm going to google Tropical Rose in a minute.

  3. I'm embarrassed to admit I don't really understand how overwintering works. If it's some type of bulb, do you have to do anything other than dig them up and keep them in a non-freezing area?

    One thing I'm struggling with is the water shortage here in California, which we are finally realizing is not a temporary situation, but the reality of our landscape. But for containers, anything goes, so thanks for the reminder that cannas look great in pots. My favorite is Canna Tropicana Gold, which I think is a Monrovia plant, because I love the variegated zebra style foliage.

  4. Hi Rob,
    FYI, I am the weird numerical commenter - still having troubles with my typekey open id account although I did solve my word verification woes. I seem to be suffering from incorrect internet identity overload, so if you get a comment from APLD California or susan morrison, those are me as well. Will have to get my vice president of IT on this (my husband)
    susan (garden chick)

  5. Greetings weird numerical commenter.

    Yep, overwintering is pretty much that. I cut the canna back after the first frost, trimmed the rhizomes and buried them in slightly moist compost, keeping them cool and out of the light. I could probably have got away with leaving them in the ground with a good mulch but I wanted to move them anyway.


  6. Just the other day, I was feeling like it was staying lighter just a tad longer- now I know...1 minute and 36 seconds longer, as a matter of fact :) Thanks for posting this! I'll keep checking back about Cannas, Rob. Happy Gardening!

  7. Rob - I think the height of the cannas planted in the tall stock tall will make a beautiful growing fence. I've seen the tanks used for "Southern US" or rural plantings, but not with a lot of tall plants.

    Cannas grow very well here.

    Some folks lift them out of the ground for winter and store them in a basement or garage. It sounds like we do the same thing as you for overwintering tender plants -- cover with mulch after cutting back.


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