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Saving Cannas & Gladioli

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Cannas are one of my favorite flowers because they are so easy to grow, they have lush foliage that has a rich jungle appearance and they are easy to save from season to season. Cannas produce many new rhizomes that can be separated now or in the spring. Leave the clumps together and bury them in layers of peat moss. This is not difficult, but does require a large storage area. To divide them now, leave at least one bud on each division if storage space is limited. Cannas are resilient and require little special treatment to make it through the winter. If your cannas are growing near the foundation of your home, you may be able to leave them in through the winter if you mulch them in well. I cover mine with sheets of two-inch thick Styrofoam insulation and then cover that with several inches of mulch. They will live through the winter and grow next spring. Keep in mind that they will not grow until the soil gets warm so if you want an early start on the flowers, start them inside a greenhouse in the early spring. Gladioli are easy to save. They are somewhat dry corms that are going stay in good condition without much care. When the foliage starts to die back, dig the corms and let them dry in a warm, dry place out of the sun. When the tops have dried, cut them off and store them in a mesh bag or on wire mesh trays in a frost-free location. There is no need to go to the trouble and expense of storing them in medium or some special storage containers. Discard corms that are moldy or damaged, as they are not worth saving. If the glads have had serious thrip damage they may not be worth saving. Treating with hot water or acephate (Orthene) will kill the pests if the bulbs are very valuable. Don't overlook the small corms that form around the base of the corms. Gladioli typically produce a new corm on top of the old corm that withers away. The small corms can be removed in the spring and planted with the regular corms or in a nursery row. They will generally not bloom until one year later. Other summer bulbs require no digging in the fall. Daylilies are perfectly hardy and should be left in the ground throughout the winter unless you plan to divide them to propagate more daylilies. Larry A. Sagers Regional Horticulturist Utah State University Thanksgiving Point Office

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