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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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hey ! This canna info is great. I spent a pretty penny on some "Pink Sunburst "canna from a highly recommended nursery. I have them planted around my birdbath. They have looked "ratty" from the git-go. I ordered them for the foilage as well as the bloom. You guys have given me the courage to prune those buggers. Any advise on how far to go ?
Thanks Jim 41,I'm gonna trust your advice and do the deed. Small world, I was watching you two talk about Jackson,Tn. That was my home too. It has gotten so big since I grew up there. Back then, you really did know almost everybody in town ,but now, so much industry and many many new people. I still get homesick.
one other thing i'll throw in here. if your cannas continue to look ratty and you've determined that they are free of canna leaf rollers, then they need feed. cannas are heavy feeders and i feed mine once a month with an all purpose granular feed that contains N-P-K plus minors. minor elements are very important, imho, for all plants. too often the fertilizers we buy contain only the big 3 and it's especially important when a plant is getting a lot of water because the nutrients wash out so quickly.
Trackin - does a potassium deficiency cause browning on the edges of leaves on other plants as well? I have a couple landscaping plants (can't remember the name - the ones with thin trunk stalks and dark-light waxy purple leaves that grow out of it the entire length from the ground to the peak) that have the same browning edges/tips.
yes, brown edges usually mean a lack of potassium in pretty much all plants. it can be due to other things however. nothing is written in stone with plants. you have to observe and think of all the things it could be, then start ruling things out.
lynda, i don't know if you have the same fertilizers there that i have here. let me get mine and get back with you. i'll give you the numbers on mine and you can compare.
this thread slipped my mind and i wanted to give you the fertilizer info you asked for.
i use sunniland professional nursery fertilizer and i doubt you can get that outside of florida but basically what you need to look for is this:
major nutrients which all general fertilizers have unless it is made for a specific plant (like a lawn)
every one of these nutrients plays a part in plant health and development to varying degrees and whether you're going organic or chemical, can be found in many sources different sources.
some plants need very little of the secondary and minor nutrients and some require much more. that is where the research comes in.
on another subject, we discussed cutting down the flower stalk when it was finished. some cannas will only produce one flowering segment and then be finished (as evidenced by a seedpod forming) and others will form a seed pod but send up additional flowers on new segments. you will come to know the habit of your particular plant the longer you have it. sometimes you have to wait for the second and third flush on a canna. i posted a bloom from Cleopatra on july 20th and left the seedpod to form and did not cut the stem down.
now, on august 6th, here is a picture of the seedpod and a new bud developing next to it but farther up on the stem.
Awesome information, trackin! The sad part is my cannas haven't bloomed flower stalks in months. I've been cutting ratty-looking stalks for a while now, and am watching with anticipation as the new growth coming out of the ground makes its way skyward. It's growing slowly - still only 6" from the ground - but the leaves look good, and the sluggo-type pellets are working as I see empty shells all around the plant all the time. They really do a number on the cannas and it's sad to see all of those holes and ratty plants. I need to stop being lazy and start taking some pics.
how often do you water? is it possible that perhaps there is too much salt in your soil? i had the problem when i lived south. we were right on the ocean and between salt in the air and salt washing in from storms, it was very hard on certain plants. i kept my cannas in pots down there.
When we get good rain I don't water them, obviously. Between rains, when we get dry periods, I never let them go longer than a couple days without a good soaking. We've been rain-less for almost 2-weeks now, and I've been watering them every 1-2 days. Wellington is pretty far inland. I don't think our salt levels are that high. I used to live in Palm Beach Gardens right next to the ocean. I think I would've had more problems there. Where did you live, trackin?
About cannans, I have a ? of my own . A friend gave me a few roots, the first year they were so pretty , but they grew so tall I move them to a back ground area. They have not done any thing sence. the ones that come back will develope.a worme that make the leaves roll up and never do any thing . I have poisned
the plant but I cant`t get rid of. It has about destroyed them and the ones that come back never amount to any thing. Any help or advice would be app
if you read further up in this thread, i think we talked about the canna leaf roller. it can be totally controlled with Bt or (brand names) Thuricide or Dipel. when you spray or dust it on your cannas, it only kills the rollers, nothing else. it is considered organic and basically harmless to people and pets.
I lived in eastern PBG, almost considered North Palm Beach - we were on the intracoastal which borders the two. I moved about 25 miles SW to Wellington. Western PBG is where I saw most of the horses when I lived there.
Speaking of bloom boost - do you recommend anything I can use to supplement the blooming? I haven't really gotten around to fertilizing them, but hope to do so this weekend. Thanks.
aha, the truth comes out. you don't need a bloom boost, just feed them. use a good granular fertilizer similar to what i posted above if you can find it. even a liquid like miracle gro is better than nothing.
Yeah, guilty as charged. I'll feed them this weekend and see what happens. The ones I chopped down are pushing up some very attractively-colored leaves and look healthy. A boost wouldn't hurt! I'm in a serious battle with these snails. I find dozens of empty shells around the cannas and hibiscus (the granular killer works well), but I'm still finding small holes in some of the leaves. They won't even give the cannas a chance to grow back!!! I retreated and am hoping for the best, but the things multiply faster than they can eat the killer...
you probably have access to some top-notch feed stores. i think i'd try to find some crushed oyster shells and put that around your vulnerable plants. sharp or builder's sand can work too (not beach sand) but the oyster shell is better. diatomaeous earth is the best but you have to put fresh down after every rain. it would cut down on the population though.
Thanks Trackinsand, I did read about thuricidein in a previous post. But I appreciate you replying to me. I had just about given up on my cannans ,But I`ll give them one more try. I`ll let you know how it truns out. mincey1
Not to brag but my cannas are amazing year round and I am lucky to have them in my garden.
I keep the soil moist or never dry longer than a week, feed once a month and have apparently the only place in America where there are no harmful root snails you speak of. They are multiplying and I have no doubt they will take over the entire plot I have them in based off what you say about the plant. I have never had to cut them back - only pull the dead nearing winter.
My canna are somewhat seasonal where they are tall, have beautiful leaves and blossoms and have more and more flowers every year. Then in winter they die off and grow short stalks of leaves only. Which makes me wonder if I can't plant something amongst them to bloom at that time in the same area that won't jeopardize my cannas?????
I feed them with a local nursery's all purpose plant food made by gro-power 4-8-2.
Lots of great info here!!
First time canna planter. I bought it at Lowes and it has 4 plants coming from it. It's yellow which I love!
I have seeds too that a kind and generous member sent to me,
I'm going to try the beer dish method for the snails since I have pets around.
Ill be checking back.
Thanks so much for being on Daves Garden!!
Howdy! When I made my last message I should have said I have 8 Cannas coming out if this plant. I put the whole thing in the ground.
I have to dig it up come before frost.
When do I separate the pieces?
you can dig them out after the first frost. a frost or light freeze will knock them back to the ground but the tubers won't be dead. it's only when the ground actually freezes that they would die. just cut them to the ground and dig up the whole clump at once. you can separate them in your garage or just stick the whole clump in a pot and put in a dark place with no water until spring.