Cannas

Here's a question about cannas: in SE Michigan, it's necessary to dig up the tubers each fall and store them from the winter cold (about 50-60F). In the spring the tubers are replanted and the cycle repeats itself. My question is whether skipping a season will render the cannas dead. I basically ran out of time this spring and didn't plant my cannas. Does anyone know if they will grow if I plant them next spring? Thanks!
Jim
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There is some chance that they might grow. They tend to dry out in storage and die. Even if it is very late, I plant mine just to rejuvenate them. I have a couple of varieties that just started to bloom. Under normal circumstances they bloom around July 4th. in my SW Ohio garden. At this point you have few options (unless you have a greenhouse). I would sort through them and discard any that are obviously dead. I would soak them to re-hydrate, dry them, and repackage. You might check them every couple of months and mist them if they seem dry. I find that it takes about 6 week for them to develop roots and send up new leaves. So, about 6 weeks before the last frost you can soak them for several hours, pot them, and let them develop in your basement. They won't need any light until the leaves start to unfold. After the last frost date just put them outside and then plant them as you can. By potting them early you will be getting them out of storage early. It will also let you see which ones are going to grow before you plant them in a display bed.
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How did you store them, and what kind of condition are they in now?
I store mine in damp peat, and by spring they are starting to sprout. If yours sprouted, but never got in the ground, they may have exhausted themselves or rotted. On the other hand, if you stored them dry, they may have dried out too much.
If by some lucky chance when you examine them they seem firm but not withered, you could try potting up a few and growing them indoors if you have a very sunny spot for them. Then, come spring, you could divide the potted ones and replenish your stock. Even if they are in good condition now, I doubt they would last another winter, so potting up may be your best bet.
This is all just surmise on my part; perhaps someone else has experience with this situation. At any rate, good luck, and if they don't make it, it's just a good reason to buy some cool new varieties next year. Horn Canna farms has a good selection at reasonable prices: http://www.cannas.net
Cheers, Sue
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Zone 6, Southcentral PA
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If you scratch them and see green, try it out. Take a few and soak them in warm water to see if they swell, if they do, they are okay. If they are not, contact me in spring and I will send you some cannas. I have 'Pretoria' 'Tropicana' 'Striped Beauty' and yellow with plain green foliage.
I always have some to give away.
Victoria
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