Cannas - Aggressive Pruning?

West Palm Beach, FL

I have a couple of Canna plants. One of them is doing quite well; the other has tattered leaves and isn't growing too well, rarely every sprouting a flower stalk. Is it adviseable to prune them to the ground in hopes that they will come back stronger/better, or should I leave them alone? Their counterpart, sitting a mere foot away are growing well, though they haven't produced flowers for a couple months either. Thanks.

Jackson, TN(Zone 7b)

I told my neighbor just the other day that I wouldn't mind if my cannas didn't bloom at all...simply because I think the leaves are more showy than the actual flowers!

Last year I put in two cannas. One in the spring and one in the heat of July. That poor canna that I planted in July looked burnt up for the rest of the season but this year...it looks just as good as the rest!

In my zone ( zone 7 ) I wouldn't dare prune anything right now. It's just too hot here.

I know none of this helped you at all. I hope someone comes along soon that has some answers for you!

Port Washington, NY(Zone 7a)

They don't overwinter for me here so I'm not sure what is best there. I do have experience with tattered leaves. Last year we had a severe hail storm that shredded every leaf on every Canna in the garden. I removed all the damaged leaves and they came back within weeks looking better than ever.
Dyane

Winnsboro, TX

I think this is something that everyone has an opinion on and really there is no right or wrong way to prune your cannas. I give mine a haircut several times a year. If the leaves start looking ratty I cut them back to the good leaves. When I'm tired of looking at the bloom stalks sticking way up, I cut them back too. Each and every year my cannas double or triple in plants. I have tons of different ones and just yesterday I cut some back, trimmed the bloomstalks and even pulled some up to toss in the trash.

I planted some on both sides of a flowerbed and they have a take over the world attitude. So when they start multiplying like crazy I just pull some of them out and toss them. That is of course after I planted about 50 different bunches of them all over this place. One can only have so many yellow cannas. Now I'm working on transplanting some of the different colors all over the farm. I've also relocated tons of Cleopatra here. Now if I could just get a bunch of pinks and pastel colors to plant everywhere I'd have it made.

Like Dyane said, you remove the leaves and cut them back some and they plants come back looking better than ever.

Happy Gardening, Marian

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West Palm Beach, FL

Wow thank you all for the responses. Nice cannas Marian! I will trim back the tattered stuff and hope for the best. It has been 90-100 degrees here every day for 2 weeks so I may wait before I get clipper happy. My cannas are the type with the showy red/green/yellow/orange-streaked leaves and the orange flower stalks. One other thing I noticed about when the flowers bloom is that they have somewhat pitiful petals. In your picture, your petals look strong and stiff - mine kind of lay limp as if somewhat wilted, though they get plenty of water.

Dahlonega, GA

When mine slow down in blooming ,I give them another soaking of water . They always put out more blooms . I try to keep the soil moist , but a good soaking keeps them in bloom . digger

Santa Cruz, CA(Zone 9b)

i cut my cannas down to the ground whenever they start to annoy me, lol.

Delhi, LA

Don't know any thing about cannas in cold country but down south they are very invasive. Canna roots are ryzones. They store energy in them and a piece an inch long will sprout and make a new plant. I dug up a whole row the length of my property and raked out all the roots I could find, piled and burned the whole mess. Next spring my burn pile sprouted as well as the row I had dug up. Take the weed wacker and cut them off at the ground and they will come back no matter how hot it is. Also, if you really want the canna to bloom right, you need to keep them dead headed. Hope this helped.

West Palm Beach, FL

Jim,

Thanks for the info. I think I'll just cut the ugly one to the ground and watch it sprout back up! I have seen new shoots popping up from around the plant, so I figured they'd spread like those darn Mexican Petunias. What does "dead headed" mean? I would love for them to bloom again....thanks!

Jackson, TN(Zone 7b)

Darn Mexican Petunias??? Do they spread like crazy??? My daughter's MIL sent me some of those...I always had a feeling that she really didn't like me!

West Palm Beach, FL

Hahaha yeah they spread like crazy down here. They are considered extremely invasive and the state tries to disuade people from planting them. Funny thing is municipalities will throw fields of them in the medians and lining the roads in some areas...go figure! They spread from their root systems. You'll be plucking them out of other plants and even out of your grass!

Delhi, LA

Dead-Heading means when the flower stallk on the canna is bloomed out, take your nippers or what ever you use and follow it down to the plant and cut it off. It will put up another bloom spike in a few days.

Mexican petunias, I rank right up there with wisteria, canna, and Lantana. It not only roots from the root but every flower that falls off carries a deligtful little seed with it just like periwinkle. Plantted some in a 4x8 bed in front yard. been pulling those darn things up for the last 2 years and still sprouting. Yep, they are invasive.

Jackson, TN(Zone 7b)

Wisteria I have in the same bed as the Mexican Petuna. Cannas I just love though. It's the leaves on them that I like so much. Lantana I can't get to come back for anything here. I tried the Ms Huff but that didn't come back either. I still plant it, but now I just get the $2.98 version at Lowe's. As a matter of fact I have some growing now in pots on my front porch. How do you think that's going to work out...Lantana in a pot?

PrimRose is the most invasive plant I've had so far. I planted a little piece last year...the tag said 'mounding'. When it started coming up this year it was everywhere. It's doing it's best to take out about half of one of my beds...smothering everything in it's way too. I've dug out two thirds of it three times so far...in no time at all though...it's just as thick as it was before I took the shovel to it.

Delhi, LA

Started plant some prim rose. Glad I didn't now. Like for stuff to stay where I put it. Don't really understand the Lantana. The type we have is very hearty and invasive. Don't know what kind it is, got a start from my Mom years ago. Do you know Becky and Tommy Wilson in Jackson. My favorite niece.

Dahlonega, GA

Lantana is pretty ,from a far distance . It is native in coastal Texas . That stuff stinks , even the hybred plants . Neighbor had it next door when I was a kid and had to pass it every time I came and went to school .It's hard work to dig it up and the roots keep putting out far from the parent plant .
If someone can tell me the name of a scentless one , I wouldn't mind making a container plant of it , but Never in the yard

Jackson, TN(Zone 7b)

Becky and Tommy Wilson...can't say that I do. What are their ages? Do they have children?

Delhi, LA

Tommy is 70 and retired from one of the cannerys in Jackson. He was over the warehouse I think. Becky is 65 and works at the college. Children are grown Allen lives in Oregon I think and Laura lives in Kentucky. Just wondered. Jackson is a nice city. We usually spend the night there when we go to see our daughter in Ohio. It is about half way.

West Palm Beach, FL

Well I cut the struggling tattered canna to the ground on Saturday. On Sunday, there were already new chutes poking out of the ground. Will the plant re-grow out of the pruned "stumps", or will they just wilt and decompose? One other thing I noticed was the abundance of snails hiding amongst the base of the canna. I smashed them against the fence, but I'm sure there will be more where they came from. Any suggestions on a deterrant? I'm not afraid of chemicals.

Delhi, LA

Don't worry about the canna they will be back. On one of the other threads the talk is all about sluggo. Never tried it personally but from what was said it is a good product. Luck.

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

once you know that the stem has produced all the flowers it can and you don't see signs of any new buds forming, you should always cut that stalk to the ground because basically it's finished. new little pups will shoot up around it and be blooming before you know it. the old one is just sapping water, food and energy from the new ones.

West Palm Beach, FL

Jim, thanks for the sluggo suggestion. I'll read that thread.

Trackin - Hello my fellow Floridian! I've been "deadheading" my bloom stalks, but only cutting them down to the leaf growth. Should I be cutting them all the way down to the ground?

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

hi back at ya!

yes, cut them to the ground when they are finished blooming.
cannas can fool you sometimes because after a full flowerhead is finished blooming, another one will start, usually right under the first one but once that second one is done, i cut to the ground.

West Palm Beach, FL

Thanks trackin! I'll get right on it! On a side note, do you have any tropical fruit trees in central Florida? I'm growing Mango (Julie) and papaya.

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

i don't personally but there are those here who do grow them. it's getting harder and harder with the wicked winters we've been having. papaya is pretty easy because it's a fast grower and usually comes back from the roots.

West Palm Beach, FL

It's a bit milder down here, but during this past winter, I had to cover much of my plants. I actually had frost on my grass in S.E. Florida - unimaginable!

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

here was my ghost garden this winter.

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West Palm Beach, FL

Wow nice garden. I wish I had those wide open spaces. I'm sitting on 1/3 acre including the house with most of the back yard a patio. I'm somewhat limited on space, unfortunately. Hopefully we get milder winters in the future (I can imagine the individuals up north laughing at our concept of a winter).

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

well, we have wide open spaces but truthfully, i only garden in a tiny part. too many weeds and heat and bugs to deal with! lol

West Palm Beach, FL

Haha I can understand that.

Arcadia, FL(Zone 9b)

We have Canna in several places, I never knew to cut them back. They grow great, look good and seem pretty tolerant of the heat. As for evasive stuff...We have Coffee Bean plant very evasive but again can live through anything. The freeze last winter in Jan killed the biggest ones, and low and behold this spring they are back. Another one is Cranberry Hibiscus, it too seems to die all the way to the roots then we seem to start pulling sprouts from everyplace. But it is better than being North where you have to shovel LOL.

West Palm Beach, FL

Haha I hear that. Fortunately that frost didn't kill anything here. I covered my bouganvilla tree, hibiscus bushes, cannas, other misc. plants I don't know the names of (rooted some cuttings from plants at my mother-in-law's), and the mango tree. Everything pulled through.

Update on the cannas: new leaf stalks have pushed through the ground around the ones I chopped down and are now a few inches tall. Unlike most "woody" type plants I'm used to, it looks like the cannas won't re-grow from the clipped stumps, but rather spring anew from the roots. I'm happy that this is the type of plant that you can chop to the ground and regrow in a matter of weeks from the looks of it. These leaves can tatter easily and snails/slugs love them, so it's good to be able to do this! My hibiscus are a different story, however. I guess I need to pick up a box of sluggo.

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

the canna, being a non-woody plant, is more like a banana. the old ones die and pups spring up after flowering and fruiting.

you may want to invest in some Bt (thuricide) or spinosad (fertilome borer, bagworm and leafminer spray) because eventually you will have canna leaf rollers if you don't already. both of these products are made with bacteria and are completely safe to use around pets/kids, etc. it works by disrupting the digestive system of the caterpillar and they die of starvation within a day or two. it only works on caterpillars and do not use it on plants that you are growing for butterflies. i spray mine down once a month and i never have any eaten leaves. will not work on slugs either.

Delhi, LA

Hey trackinsand, thanks for the information. Those leaf rollers are a real problem for me. One of the reasons I did away with most of the cannas around the house. We have some purple leafed ones I really like and this is the first year they have been bothered.

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

i should have made my last post a little clearer. the Bt works on cats only. the spinosad works for all or most leaf eating pets, but they do work the same way essentially. i like the Bt for the cannas.

Long Beach, CA(Zone 10a)

I think tracks meant to say leaf eating "pests", not "pets".
(Sorry deb...just don't want someone thinking their dog or cat or rabbit will be in jeapordy...lol )

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

lol, glad you caught that one!

West Palm Beach, FL

Trackin - Thanks for the information. I'll make a stop at the depot and pick some up, assuming it can be purchased there. Hoping to keep them looking great!

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

look for Thuricide. that is a brand name.

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West Palm Beach, FL

Will do. That canna flower is beautiful.

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

that is Cleopatra. the buds are neat too.

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