HELP! Cannas too big to get out of pots

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I was given a wonderful gift of cannas this past May or so. I gave them lots of love. I put two of them in what I thought was a large pot. Now my problem is that, once the leaves got burned by frost I tried to get them out of the pot, and they are so robust they are wedged in. I have a BUNCH of what look like bulbs - incredibly healthy. And I don't quite know what to do.

If I take the entire pot into the house and to my basement (60 degrees) will they rot? Can I hope that the soil will dry or that they will dry in order to allow me to lift them once it does dry? I am in zone 5a and cannot leave them outside. And lastly, will they explode my ceramic pot if I can't get them out and they continue to grow?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I am attaching three pictures to show you the extent of the growth.

Donna

Thumbnail by DonnaMack
Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Pretty amazing.

Thumbnail by DonnaMack
Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I would really hate to lose them. An adorable person sent them to me.

Donna

Thumbnail by DonnaMack
Katy, TX(Zone 8b)

If it were me and an adorable person had given me the bulbs and I put them in a pot I would break the pot so that I could have the bulbs. The bulbs would mean more to me than the pot (unless the same person or an equally well liked person had given it to me.) You can always buy another pot but you can't buy nice friends who give you nice gifts.
Just a thought.......

Ann

szarvas, Hungary

water spray !!!!
dany

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Thank you. Now a newbie question. Am I only trying to preserve the bulbs? Do I separate them, or try to keep them in a clump? Our alternative is to push a shovel down the middle of the pot.

Donna

Richmond, TX(Zone 9a)

the pot looks like one worth keeping. Can you not wet the plant, then turn the pot upside down or on its side, then slide the plant out?

Then use shovel to divide in as many sections as you one. One rhizome will give you a full plant in one season.

If the pot is of no value, sentimental or $, I'd not hesitate to break, but I don't really think it is necessary in this case.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Thank you all! We used a shovel to get it out of the pot. We actually realized that we had so many sections that we could afford to sacrifice some. The pot (yes,Voss, it IS a nice one!) is rounded, so the little guys expanded in the middle, and the middle was wider than the top. That's why we couldn't slide it out.

In any case, we got the two sections out, and realized that we have LOTS of sections. The contents of the pot, in two large portions with many rhyzomes, is now on the floor of the basement.

Voss, would you advise on the next step? Do we rinse the sections , and then divide them, and then dry them, or should it be done in a different order?

Do give you a sense of why I was so incredulous, here is what they looked like in mid-March.

Thumbnail by DonnaMack
Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

And here is what they looked like in September. We probably should have used two pots, and not put the two plants in one.

Wow! What are they like in your climate!!!!!

Thank you SO MUCH for your kindness.

Donna

Thumbnail by DonnaMack
Richmond, TX(Zone 9a)

donna, the rinsing part I mentioned was to soften the whole planting in order to get it out of the pot. Otherwise you don't need to rinse anything. Just divide in as many sections as you want and repot each. Lightly water. Their water requirement is minimal this time of year, so water about 1 cup per pot every month from now til March (or whenever you take them outdoors) and then resume water as you normally do. You know your plants' requirements.

Remember, one rhizome will give you a full plant in one season, so divide w/ abandon.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Voss,

Thank you so much for your help. My hubbie and I are already talking about putting them in four pots. What an amazing plant. I had no idea that those little things would get so big. It brought a wonderful tropical ambiance to our yard. We wouldn't want to lose it.

Well, to the basement to divide! I truly appreciate your help. It's so kind of the experts to take time to help the clueless!

Donna

Crestview, FL

Donna: Those look like healthy plants dear, but they are way too crowded. It looks like just from the first pic, that you have about 12 plants there? I would put one plant per pot, as that is what I do with mine, they need room to grow, you should plant them a good space apart if in a bed and I suggest one Rhizome per pot. I'm really surprised they look so healthy after being crowded so. I have about 80 cannas myself, but since I live in NW Florida I can keep them outside in the beds over winter.
joy112854

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Dear Joy,

Thank youso much. I just didn't have a clue. The problem is that in zone 5a, they will get killed outdoors. I did take very good care of them. As my husband jokes, I caress every leaf. Everything in my garden becomes huge. I'm one of those people who consults books that indicate what a plant loves BEST - and then I do it.

Please indulge me, but I can't seem to figure this out. I have consulted three books and gone on line but it escapes me. What constitutes a rhyzome? Is it the woody clump? I have lots of what look to me like white bulbs attached to a woody clump. How many white bulbs should be in a pot? I do have LOTS of pots.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate the kindness of all of you.

Donna

Richmond, TX(Zone 9a)

donna, here you go. In basic terms, it is was is underground. lookie here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhizome

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Thank you, Voss, Joy, Plantlady and Dani! Now I understand. The rhyzome is the woody part, and the tubers are the storage parts. So a single rhyzome can have several tubers. The light goes on! I can put each rhyzome, with tubers attached, in a separate pot next spring. I will make sure that the pot is not narrower at the top than in the middle.

What amazing plants cannas are! All this from 2 tubers planted in March in zone 5a. These and the brug I was given gave my garden a wonderful air it simply did not have. I grew ricinus carmencita, verbena bonariensis and lots of other essentially tropical tender perennials. I can talk to people about roses, peonies, grasses, lots of different shrubs, growing annuals and perennials from seed. But I can see that tropicals are truly a specialty.

Awesome!

Donna

Crestview, FL

Donna: I bought 48 rhizomes from a Canna Farmer not too long ago and when there are more than one rhizome attatched they are called corms I think, you can split them; but for shipping he did not do that as it would be less stressful on the plants themselves not to do so; I, of course split them when they got here so I could plant them. In the ground I try to keep them at least 18 inches away from each other on the sides as they like lots of room. In pots I use big ones and plant one rhizome per pot.
joy112854

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Joy,

That's just what I'll do. I have two huge hunks. I'll start working on them tomorrow.

Thank you again.

Donna

Crestview, FL

Donna: No problem, they look really healthy, what kind are they do you know? They kind of look like they might turn out to be Cleopatras?
joy112854

North of Atlanta, GA(Zone 8a)

I couldn't tell if it was a hard or soft container. Looks like a hard container, but just in case you have it in a soft container inside a hard container, you can turn the soft container to the side and step on the container. This will "loosened" the plant from the container. The have your DH stand on one end and you on the other end and pull out the plant! :)

Worst case scenario, you can put a hand trowel into the dirt and "cut out" a few rhyzome. It's OK if you loose some roots, as long as you get some of the roots. They are tough plants and they will be fine.

BTW, the leaves are just beautiful!

Greenwood, IN(Zone 5b)

Hi Donna,

Vossner is right about the cannas. They grow like weeds here and are almost impossible to get rid of. I would not worry about being too careful or delicate in breaking them apart; even small pieces with an eye will readuly grow back into healthy plants. I once pulled about grocery-bag full of roots out of an area where I didn't want any, thinking I had them all (they were this intertwined grid of tubers), and guess what, next spring I had a bed full of cannas anyway. Sigh.

Except for your cold temperatures, they're almost impossible to kill. They overwinter in the ground here without issue. I am not crazy about them, LOL!

Whatever you did, the plants seem to love it; before you know it you'll have a whole garden full of them, if you put a couple of pot's worth inside every year to overwinter!

Steve

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Good morning!

Joy, the canna was actually a gift from Kim (Lily Love) along with a brug (I could figure out what to do with that). Theoretically it was a trade (I sent her a Lillium Silk Road) but it felt like a gift to me. Both were actually spectacular. Kim, as you may have noticed, has a billion beautiful brugs and cannas. She showed me the pics of cannas in her garden, but I don't think she actually knows the name. I was stunned at the size of it (made a big old statement here in the Midwest!!!). Most people here, if they grow them, prefer the kind that are about two feet tall. I LOVE the leaves.

And note, below, how small they were (and note the snow outside!!)

Lilli, I like your idea of a soft container inside. We ended up taking a shovel and jamming it down the middle. It was in a wonderful ceramic pot - wonderful except that it is wider in the middle than the top. The corms were packed against the sides.

And Steve (hi again!) it's good to know I can beat them up a bit, since I'll need to separate them. We have to put them in pots, because the beds are filled with roses, peonies, grasses, shrubs and what have you. And I'll make sure I take it easy on the love I give them, since, based on the results, it was too much!

Thank you all - you're the best!

Donna

Thumbnail by DonnaMack
North of Atlanta, GA(Zone 8a)

LOL Donna. I don't think you can love them too much. :)

Crestview, FL

Donna: Don't worry they will grow on you, I have them all round the sides of my house, all round the sides of my deck, all down the fronts of my house and fronts of my deck including the ramp. I've been getting a variety together as I have fallen in love with them. I figure this Spring my place will have that tropical paradise look to it. Other than that the only other flowers I have is Daffodils on the deck and 2 shamrocks and 2 geraniums and 2 citronellas, had to bring all inside except the cannas, they overwinter good here, not to mention I could never fit that many in my house comfortably, I would have to find another place to live for sure. LOL
Next Spring I hope to add a Stuttgart to my collection and keep it indoors and get a Peach Gigantum for the outdoors.
joy112854

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Oh, Joy, I love them. We have already decided that we would like four. The trouble is that they ALL would have to be brought inside, and space outside is a bit tricky. I have 23 roses, 14 peonies (an adorable person who shall be unnamed gave me 6 to add to my 8 - fabulous!!!), about 50 grasses and 45 shrubs, thousands of bulbs (hundreds of lilies and tulips, and thousands of alliums, along with daffs, chilonodoxa, crocuses, iris reticulata, leucojum, hyacinths, anemones, camassia, ornithogolum), not to mention trees (both ornamental and shade), the perennials and annuals in the ground and those I take into the house. I would have to annex the neighbor's yard.

HEY! That's a thought!

Donna

North of Atlanta, GA(Zone 8a)

You need a greenhouse or a sunroom!

Crestview, FL

Donna: Portable Greenhouses are really inexpensive now, I bought one I haven't used yet for $325 and it's a 8x6x6 with doors and port holes, I'm planning on putting it to use in another year or two for some select veggies. LOL
joy112854

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Joy and Lili, you two are a hoot!

Honestly, I considered adding a greenhouse but realized that I already had so many plants in the best location for it (camassia, thalictrum, polemonium, orthinogalum, species tulips) that it wouldn't work.

And I have something of a sunroom. It's full (heliotope, hibiscus, eragrostis, verbena, annual lilies, double petunias) and shop lights in the basement (platycodons started from seed, 4 kinds of verbena, lisianthus), not to mention my windowsills (oxalis, 4 pots of rosa chinensis, 3 pots of nasella).

AND, I live in community in which I would have to get permission to put a greenhouse on my land. Not that I have a lot of land because it's chockablock with plants!!

Donna

North of Atlanta, GA(Zone 8a)

Oh, well. We tried to enable you.... ^_^

Crestview, FL

Donna: The reason I suggested a greenhouse, is cause I called Titan to see what they wanted to make my deck into a sunroom/FL room for my plants. The greenhouse was much cheaper, much, much, much cheaper. LOL
joy112854

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