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How do I winterize my tropicana plants (they are in two big containers). Please help!!

Kathleen, Thanks for your question. Your tropicanna plants are a very colorful type of Canna. Cannas can be grown in containers or planted in the ground. They are NOT however, winter hardy. That means that they will need to be dug up and stored inside over winter. This is actually quite simple. Enjoy your canna as long as you can. Just water it but don’t feed it anymore. This will let it slow down with the season. Once the first frost kills the foliage, lift the tubers from the pot and cut off the dead leaves right down to the tuber. Brush off any excess soil with a wisk broom…don’t spray it with water to clean them…just brush them off lightly. Leave them out on some newspaper to let them dry out so the cut has a chance to scab over. Then place the tubers into a paper bag (don’t use plastic bags..you want the bulbs to ‘breathe’). Now you need to find a nice cool place to put the bulbs for the winter. They want to be cool but they don’t want to freeze. The coolest part on an unheated basement would work. When winter starts to wind down, you can get your cannas going for the next season. In early April, plant the tubers into some smaller pots at the same depth you found them at when you dug them out. You can use smaller pots to get them started to save on space. Once they’re potted, water them in thoroughly to let them know it’s time to grow again. Just keep them very lightly moist so they don’t drown and rot. Place them in the sunniest window you have. No need to feed them yet. In mid-May you can transplant them back into the larger pot and start light feedings with a good soluble food like Jack’s Classic. Late in May move them to a bright but shaded area so they can get used to a little sun. Gradually move them to sunnier and sunnier places until they are acclimated and you’re good to go for another season…have fun!

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