I stored cannas over the winter in an aluminum tin filled with peat moss. How do I know it they survived the storage OK? What should I look for? When and how should I replant them in the garden?
Cannas are generally easy plants to carry over as long as the tubers are not allowed to freeze and they do not dry out excessively. The ideal storage temperature is in the 50 to 60 degree range. Canna tubers stored in an unheated garage will freeze and be literally mush by spring. On the other hand, cannas stored in a hot closet in a paper bag become shriveled, dehydrated lumps by spring. This does not have to be the case!
To properly store cannas: Lift the cannas in the fall just before or right after the first light frost. Leave the tuber clumps together even if they have become large. Rinse off the excess soil from the tubers. Allow the foliage to dry, then detach the stems from the tubers. Store the tubers in sphagnum peat or vermiculite in a container that “breathes,” like a cardboard box (not plastic!). The trick here is to minimize air movement around the tuber.
If you’ve done it right, your tubers will be firm, yet plump. They should not be moldy or have a slimy coating. New shoots, or “eyes,” may be evident as tiny points on the tuber. Tubers may be divided prior to planting—maintain at least 2 to 3 eyes per piece. Dust the freshly cut pieces with micronized sulfur and allow to dry a day or two before planting to minimize the chance of rot. Plant them outside about the same time you would plant other hardy annuals—when the danger of frost is mostly gone (mid-May). To get a jump on the season, cannas can be started indoors 4 to 6 weeks ahead of the last frost date.How