Wanting to redo my butterfly garden..can I dig up Cannas now?

I've decided to redo the butterfly garden, but I don't want to kill any flowers that are growing in it right now. I have Cannas, Daylillies, Amaryllis, Dianthus, Carnations, and a Butterfly Bush in it right now. The Canna, Dianthus, Carnation, and butterfly bush are the only things blooming right now. Can I safely dig them up and transplant them somewhere else? Or should I wait until Fall when they are no longer blooming?
Thanks! Angie
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junkyardcat wrote:

Wait.
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Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8
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I agree with "wait", but if you insist, try to take an enormous amount of soil without letting it shake off of the roots. This is when it pays to own a small tarp, so you can slip it under the mass of soil and carry the plant to its new location. Don't be dumb and try to substitute a plastic trash bag. Home Depot has tarps.
This is a two person job, by the way.
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blooming
It is up to you. Cannas are almost impossible to kill. In tropical areas they will grow all year, but tend to go dormant in the dry season. I have moved them in the summer without a problem. You can try moving them intact with a large soil mass, but I think that is far too much work. If it were me, I would cut them to the ground, dig the rhizomes, divide, discard any dead portions, and replant them. The new eyes should immediately start sending up new foliage. It will probably take 60 days for new flowers.
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Move the cannas now if you like. I've moved cannas in the heat several times. Don't worry about keeping dirt around the roots when you move them. Cut off the top growth. Also, you can use this as an opportunity to divide the rhizomes if you want to. As long as you keep them well-watered until they settle into their new location, they'll do fine.
I've also moved amaryllis in the heat, earlier this summer, in fact. (It wasn't my choice to move them during the summer; they were my mother's and their move was necessitated by some other work she was having done at her house.) They survived the move, but some of them temporarily went dormant - from having their roots disturbed, I guess. They've all resprouted and are growing; hopefully they will have fully replenished their reserves before they go dormant this fall. I am anxiously awaiting next spring to see if they have the energy to bloom well - or at all.
If you decide to move the amaryllis now, be really careful to keep most of the roots and soil surrounding them intact (they have a very large root system when they are in active growth), and maintain regular watering until you're sure they've recovered from the move. Also, I learned that the leaves are surprisingly easy to break - be careful handling them.
If possible, though, I'd wait until they go dormant this fall to move them. It'll be a lot easier to move the bulbs without worrying about the leaves or root system. When they are dormant, you can also safely remove any daughter bulbs from the main bulbs and plant them separately - bingo, more amaryllis! Also, by waiting until they are naturally dormant, you won't run the risk of reducing or eliminating next year's blooms.
Daylilies are also tough to kill. Just use reasonable care. Try to keep a lot of dirt around their roots and don't let the roots dry out. Water regularly after you move them. But if you wait until fall you would have the option of dividing them as you moved them; I don't think I'd risk dividing them during the heat of summer - too much stress on the plants.
I don't have a clue about the dianthus or carnations; I've never grown them.
Supposedly Butterfly Bushes are next to impossible to kill, but I may just manage it - the two I planted this spring aren't doing well at all. Don't take any advice I give regarding Butterfly Bushes. :-)
Laura

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I would say wait on the moving till you research what butterfly's frequent your area. I have an extensive butterfly garden and I have not seen them on cannas, or my daylillies, nor the dianthus. Where I have seen them is gathering heat by hanging in the cedar trees or larger rocks. Feeding on black eyed Susan, purple cone flower, gloriosa daisy, butterfly weed, swamp milkweed or regular milkweed (if you dare).
I would recommend 'The Butterfly Book' by Donald Stokes. It has an excellent reference to the types of flowers certain butterfly prefer and the caterpillar food sources. Find out which ones frequent your area and gear the garden to them.
I have had a successful crop of Monarchs this year and currently have many swallowtail caterpillars. I can't wait!
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Dana
www3.sympatico.ca/lostmermaid
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On Sun, 31 Jul 2005 22:15:47 -0700, "Dana Schultz"

Good idea, but even better would be to watch the butterfly bush and identify the butterflies you see on it and build to support and attract those butterflies. The reason I suggest this is because the Spicebush and Pipevine swallowtails are both in my "area," but I have 5 year old spicebush and pipevine with no cats ever. I suppose the neighborhoods around me are not conducive to their migration and they just don't make it to my place.

The canna supports one of the most interesting and aggravating of the butterflies, if you want neat looking canna leaves. The Brazilian Skipper has a long proboscis for reaching the nectar in the canna lily and he scrolls it up like a clock spring. The larvae (AKA Leaf Rollers) are laid on the canna leaf, which the larvae glues/webs in a roll and hides in the roll while coming up and down the roll eating the leaf and making it look nasty.

Why would one dare to plant regular milkweed? It attracts lots of insects, some known and unknown to me, but it sure has been interesting. I have swamp, regular and Hello Yellow. I live in Middle Georgia and have to wait until September before the Monarch arrive here.

I'm jealous! The afternoon storms and thundershowers seem to have had a bad effect on butterflies migrating to my place and I have only seen a small portion of what I usually see. My most popular visitor is the Gulf Fritillary and this year I have very healthy uneaten maypop's(Passion Flower). I'm beginning to see Black Swallowtails hanging around the fennel and hope things will get better.

Canna and daylilies can be moved and separated any time. They are tough. The butterfly bush can be rooted by taking a branch and burying half of it in a moist shady spot. Moving one should be done in the Spring or Fall and keep it watered well while it is making the adjustment.

Regards,
Hal
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I am in Ontario Zone 5b. My butterfly bush in the back is barely starting to open and the one in the south has a few weeks to go. So my butterfly group consists of (I would like to think) a Monarch that we hatched. My son and I go in June to fields and roadsides in the country and scour milkweed to search for caterpillars. We bring them home and feed them in the butterfly jar and some we let loose in the garden to do their thing. What a sight! I have cabbage whites, sulphurs, blues. The swallowtails generally stay out of the city. One is starting a chrysalis this morning. We have had sphinx moths too. The range is larger and too much to list.
I will certainly have to go look for the spicebush but the pipevine is not in my area. I have never had anything eat my cannas.
I will keep looking though.
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Dana
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On Tue, 2 Aug 2005 08:57:22 -0700, "Dana Schultz"

I guess that is a reward for living in such a cold place.
Yes, now would be a good time to move the butterfly bush if it is small. Mine (Planted last Fall.) is 8 feet tall and has roots extending out at least 4 feet from the center. It would take a backhoe or major pruning to move mine.
You are fortunate to have so many varieties. I would Google them and get plants they like. I'm in Zone 8 and doubt we have a lot of butterflies in common, but I wish you well.
Regards,
Hal
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