En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - February 15, 2013

From: Lancaster, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Bringing Non-native Cannas out of Winter Storage
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

Mr. Smarty Plants - Is it possible to force canna tubers? Would placing them on a heating pad help? I am in Ohio - zone 5. Thank you

ANSWER:

First of all, a word from our sponsor:   The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the use, care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. The only cannas native to the United States are Canna glauca (maraca amarilla) and Canna flaccida (bandanna of the Everglades). Canna indica is native to Central and South America and most of the other cannas are grouped under the name Canna x generalis, so extensively hybridized that there is no telling what the parents of a particular plant were or what their general characteristics will be. Both being hybridized and being non-native put them out of our range of expertise.  This previous Mr Smarty Plants answer has this quote and a bit more information on Canna’s.

    Mrs Smarty Plants suggested that perhaps you could be interested in Ohio’s native equivalents! After a bit of searching we found some lovely native lilys described in this web posting on Ohio Native Lilys. We can most highly recommend:  Lilium philadelphicum (Wood lily), Lilium michiganense (Michigan lily), and Lilium canadense (Canada lily) as similar natives that should have all the benefits of being well adapted to your climate and able to flourish without special help!

  OK – Having established that we have little expertise on Canna’s and having shown you some excellent alternatives, perhaps we should actually address your question.  It appears, like for many other bulbs or rhizomes,  that it is a pretty standard practice to dig up the Canna rhizomes and store them for the winter. I’m assuming when you use the word “force” that you mean starting their growth early in your storage so it can be well on its way for planting when frost is not likely anymore.  Here is a web posting from Garden Guides on storing Canna Tubers describing a technique for this.  While checking this out, I found a full-fledged Canna Forum on Garden Web.  There were postings there on both Winterizing Canna, and on bringing the Cannas out of winter storage. It does look like from these discussions that a little bit of water, some light and maybe heat will get them going early!  

 

From the Image Gallery


Wood lily
Lilium philadelphicum

Michigan lily
Lilium michiganense

Canada lily
Lilium canadense

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Why is oakleaf hydrangea not blooming now in Irving TX?
July 01, 2009 - I live in Irving Texas and have an oakleaf hydrangea. It bloomed in the early spring and now it is not blooming. Is there anything I can do to get to bloom?
view the full question and answer

Flowers that open during the day from Webster NY
August 17, 2011 - Can you provide some information on flowers and plants that open during day with some examples.
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming Hypericum in Eastern Pennsylvania
June 14, 2009 - I purchased a St. Johnswort about 3 years ago. I has never bloomed. It is alive & well. I know this since it has started to spread shoots. Is there a trick to this one? Occasionally something I plant ...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for Thornton CO
June 04, 2012 - I want to order ground cover because I don't want to mess with grass any more. I live in Colorado, north of Denver. The soil has a lot of clay. I tried clover and that did not do well. My yard is par...
view the full question and answer

Need plants for steep slope in Knoxville, TN.
January 10, 2013 - I have several steep banks that have to be weed-eated each year every week. Do you know if there are any kinds of ground cover that would take over the weeds on these steep dangerous banks. I live in ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center