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The beguiling beauty of canna is difficult to resist. The invitation to the home garden is quickly pronounced. She soon brings out her large, brightly colored flowers as a gift. As long as the sun is there, everything is fine. With the local winter cold, on the other hand, nothing works anymore. She robs this exotic of the last breath of life. Is it really time for the final farewell? Or can we somehow keep the Indian cane warm?
The Indian cane is extremely sensitive to cold. On its continent of origin, South America, there is never an encounter with the frost. In this country, however, it is a real problem that the Canna indica does not even have a trace of winter hardiness. With us, the visible parts of the plant wither away in late autumn. But the decisive factor is the rhizomes, which absorb all the power. These have more distance to the cold in the earth. With an insulating cover, they can withstand temperatures down to -10 °C. It is safer to move indoors, where the Canna indica can overwinter unscathed by the weather.
Is hibernation worth it?
The Indian flower cane can be bought and planted out every year. We don't have to wait long for its magnificent flowers. Why is it worth wintering at all? There are a few reasons for this:
- the winter maintenance effort is low
- Cost savings because no new purchase necessary
- Canna indica grows stronger and more beautiful over the years
- Propagation possible by dividing the rhizomes
The rhizome can be up to 60 cm long. The better the Indian cane was cared for during the growth period, the stronger and more vital is its base below the surface of the earth. This is the best starting point for successfully overwintering these magical South Americans.
The wintering period of this flower does not begin on a specific calendar day. The prevailing autumn weather can vary from year to year and has a significant influence on the growth of this plant. The canna itself sets the pace for preparing for winter.
- don't hibernate too hastily
- enjoy the flowering of the Canna indica until the end of October
- wait until the leaves have turned orange-brown
- only then is it time to prepare for hibernation
Prepare canna for winter quarters
After the Canna indica has shifted all its strength from the green leaves to the rhizomes (ground shoots) in late autumn, its outdoor season is over. Now she can move to a frost-free winter quarters. The crop must first be professionally prepared for the winter dormant phase.
- Shorten all shoots to about 5-10 cm at the beginning of November
- Carefully dig out the rhizome with a digging fork, roots should remain undamaged if possible
- Remove the soil from the canna completely, rinse off with lukewarm water or use a small paintbrush
- cut off rotten root pieces, use sharp and disinfected knife
- Disinfect resulting cuts with coal ash
- Also remove dead and dried hair roots
- allow the prepared rhizomes to dry, spread them out in an airy and shady place for a few days, grid as a base brings enough air to the roots from all sides and lets them dry evenly
tip: If the Indian cane has felt good in the summer, you hold a well-grown and numerously branched rhizome in the autumn. By dividing you can provide for new plants.
Suitable winter quarters
In their winter quarters, the rhizomes need protection from sub-zero temperatures in order not to freeze to death. At the same time, however, it must not be too warm, otherwise they will sprout prematurely.
- Store Indian cane in a frost-free place
- The ideal room temperature is 10 °C
- it should never be warmer than 15 °C
- do not store near the heater
- the room should be dry and dark
- dark basement is optimal
- also attic or pantry
- as long as they are dark and frost-free
Rhizomes overwinter "naked".
The cleaned, cut and then well dried rhizomes can be stored until spring without an enveloping layer of soil. They are simply wrapped in a few layers of newspaper and placed in a suitable room for the winter. In mid-May, the rhizomes can return to the garden, where they will start the new season with fresh shoots.
tip: Glossy paper is unsuitable for wrapping the root pieces. Only use regular newspaper for your canna.
Overwinter rhizomes in pots
The root pieces can also overwinter in a pot. However, this is not the actual planting. Instead of using earth, they will use dry sand, straw or sawdust covered. With regard to the winter quarters, the same requirements apply as for overwintering "naked" rhizomes. In the spring, the roots must be planted again. Right this time, in nutrient-rich soil where they can grow and thrive. This can be in a large bucket or directly outdoors.
Overwinter potted plants
Indian cane growing in a flowerpot can also be dug up for overwintering. But it doesn't have to. The following wintering method can be used here:
- Cut above ground down to 10 cm
- Leave rhizomes in the ground
- Place buckets in winter quarters
- moisten occasionally
- in the spring the rhizome must be taken out
- only then is it cleaned, divided and replanted
The last two hints are important because they influence the further development of the canna indica. If you leave the rhizome in its old state, you save time, but you will soon complain about a lack of growth and sparse flowering.
Whenever possible, the Indian canna should be overwintered in a suitable room. Staying outdoors all year round should be the absolute exception being. This wintering method only has a chance at all in mild regions of the country. But even then there is no guarantee of survival. After all, in addition to the temperature, the resistance of the plant itself is also an important influencing factor.
- wait with protective measures
- first the aerial parts of the canna indica must wither
- then cut back in early November
- about 10 cm above the ground
- cover the entire root disk 15 to 20 cm high
- with leaves, brushwood, straw or pine fronds
- Gravel and stones are not suitable
- cover in spring when the frost season is over
care in winter
Even if the rhizomes have found their ideal winter hotel, this cannot protect them from all dangers. Especially when the humidity gets a little too high, rot can spread quickly.
- Check rhizomes regularly
- brown spots are a sign of rot
- cut out bad spots
- use a clean and sharp knife
- beyond that, there is no need for care
- neither water nor fertilize
On the other hand, while moisture is a major problem, the roots must not dry out completely. If the air is very dry, you should occasionally use a spray bottle and lightly wet the rhizomes with water.
end of hibernation
When the frost goes, the vegetation phase of the Canna can start. Then it's mostly already middle of May. The prevailing outside temperatures are quite digestible for the flowers. But there is no sign of flower buds at this point in time. First the shoots and the green foliage have to sprout. Fortunately, you can help out here and enjoy the beautiful flowers even earlier. For this it is necessary to end the hibernation earlier.
- Rhizomes are easy to push forward
- start in March
- Get roots from winter quarters
- plant in pots with sand and leaf compost (mixing ratio 4:1)
- do not set too deep, just cover
- choose a new location
- Light and heat are important now
The optimal care during driving depends on the growth of the plants. At first, only a little is poured until the first shoots appear. After that, maintenance is as follows:
- the stronger the Indian cane grows, the more frequently water it
- fertilize every 14 days
May is the right month to plant the canna again, having previously slowly acclimated it to full sun for about 14 days. Forcing the flower forward gives it a head start of several weeks.