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Winter Storage Cannas

In cold winter climates, cannas and other tender bulbs will perish if left in the ground. You can save the cost of buying new bulbs next spring by digging up and storing the bulbs. Here's how.

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In cold winter climates, cannas and other tender bulbs will perish if left in the ground. You can save the costs of buying new bulbs next spring by digging up and storing the bulbs. Here's how. As soon as fall frost makes leaves wither, lift the clump from the ground with a spading fork, being careful not to slice in the bulbs as you dig. With your hands, remove as much soil as you can from the roots. For easy storage, cut back the stalks. Next, make clean cuts with a sharp knife and be sure each division has roots and at least 1 shoot. Now, lay the clumps in a dry cool spot that's protected to increasing temperatures for a week or so. This curing process dries the outer skin of the bulbs for storage. Label each clump with a variety name. Once the clump is cured for a week, cut the top growth from the rhizomes, leaving 1 to 2 inches of stem. Next, pour a layer of peat moss in the bottom of a cardboard box or paper bag. Place the bulbs on top and cover with more peat moss. Peat moss will slow the loss of moisture in the bulbs. Store the box in a dry place such as a garage that stays above freezing. Check the bulbs occasionally. Once spring time temperatures remain above 32 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the bulbs from the peat moss and start planting.