Saturday, 26 January 2008

Dry rhizomes, judge year 2

I have sometimes watched as keen gardeners plant their packaged, small dry rhizomes in early spring, they grow them on but express disappointment at the end of the season, complaining that while they had grown and flowered, there wasn’t the theatre effect that they had been led to expect from the Canna legend.

What we have to remember is that the rhizome is the sole source of energy for two separate things, not only the stem and flowers that you can see, but also a totally new rooting system. That is why small rhizomes that have dried often have a disappointing first year, any attached roots are certainly dead and useless, I always remove them altogether. The rhizome will start throwing more shoots once it has a root system to provide water and minerals, plus the required 6 hours of direct sunlight. The interaction of the rich canna foliage with light produces energy, the starch machine takes over and the starch is stored as new rhizomatic growth.

I suggest that at the end of the season, the plants should be dug up and stored with soil or compost as a clump, so that most of the root system can survive the winter as well. Then, when you have separated and planted them next season in fresh, well fertilised soil stand back quickly, while the Canna starts to perform as only Canna can!

So, my advice to anyone buying dry, packaged Canna rhizomes is to treat the first year as a growing and bulking exercise, enjoyable as that is, then pass judgement in the second season.

No comments:

Post a Comment