How to Care for Canna Lilies in the Winter

Written by melissa lewis
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How to Care for Canna Lilies in the Winter

Canna ilies are not actually lilies; they belong to the Zingiberale plant order. Other plants within the same plant order include ginger, bananas, and plantains. With relatives like these, it is no wonder canna lilies have huge foliage and the tallest variety can grow to 8 feet tall. Canna lilies do well in most environments, but especially in the tropics and USDA zones 8 to 10. However, before the first frost and during the winter, there are a few things you can do to help care for your beautiful canna lilies.

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Things you need

  • Mulch
  • Box or paper bag
  • Peat moss
  • Water

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  1. 1

    Mulch around your canna lilies with bark or straw during the winter months, if you live in USDA zones 8 to 10. (See Resources for USDA Zones link.) This is not always necessary, however if you are having a cooler the average winter, this will help keep your rhizomes (roots) warm. Also, it is important to continue to weed so the canna lilies can use the nutrients of the soil.

  2. 2

    If you live in USDA zone 7 or below, dig up your canna lilies before the first frost. Carefully take your rhizomes out of the ground, wipe away excess soil and let them dry out for a week. Then, place them in a box or paper bag filled with peat moss and store them in a dry area that is between 10 and 15.6 degrees Celsius. Replant in the spring when the soil is warmer and frost is no longer a danger.

  3. 3

    Move your potted canna lilies indoors in USDA zones 7 or below. If you have planted your canna lilies in pots, right before the first frost, take them inside and store the them in a cool area of your home, like a basement or garage. Take them back outside after the last frost.

Tips and warnings

  • Let canna lilies' foliage turn yellow or brown before cutting it back.
  • Some gardeners recommend waiting until after the first frost to dig up your canna lilies. They say this allows the rhizomes to begin their dormant stage.

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