Sunday, 15 February 2009

Cannas in Australian drought

Correspondance from Raelene of Canpelkni Blooms, Australia

Following fires threatening her parents’ home, Raelene at Canpelkni Blooms confirmed that their own Cannas are OK. She stated that “I’m constantly amazed at how drought tolerant they are; they just keep flowering although most aren’t as tall as in earlier years, and they just need more water. I’m still carting it outside from two showers, still collecting the water from the bowl under sink, table wiping and the kids half cups of drunk water etc., I salvage it all, and at least I’m getting good upper body strength, lol!”

“I now have a 90,000 gallon water tank set up and another 5,000 litre tank that’s full but has to be joined up to the big one, and we got 3 inches of rain about 2 months ago. It half filled the big tank and overflowed the smaller one. I’ve watered my cannas with it 3 times, they all got a quick overhead watering at the end of the three days in a row of 43+ degrees Celsius that we had about two weeks ago. It pepped them up. As part of our routine, plants on trial get the laundry grey water, these are taller and lush, how a Canna should be, with the 43 deg heat they didn’t even get a blade of leaf scorch. However other parts of my garden are only bucket watered, and these are still flowering and received about 30 percent leaf scorch. Plants that were on trial for identification that I've already got don’t get any water, unless it’s from the skies. Fence line cannas get nothing, and as a result they’re starting to look a bit tatty now, even though they are still flowering.”

“Some seedlings I planted about a month ago popped open its first flower today, the plant is just over a foot tall, another two are sending up the flower stem and these are even shorter at approx 20 cms, stress does wonderful things, these I water fairly regularly say a 10 litre bucket twice a week, still getting a few double stems etc, have a pic of a double header, this I haven’t seen here before, with those 3 hot days it never had chance to open its double head, as it as on the corner of a row and not high on the list for giving water too.”

“Yesterday we got about 20 drops of rain, seriously it was nothing, its gone before it lands-for these plants those 3 hot days we had sucked the moisture from them and left them dry and crispy, the only green you could see was a half foot of the lower stems, these have now recovered and are growing again and showing the odd flowers, I still haven’t watered them, but I do need to trim and tidy them up.”

“I don’t have enough water to grow them all to perfection, but they are thriving very well compared to last summer, and parts of my garden that are established would survive on natural rainfall alone, well certainly the fence line cannas do, these are all a minimum of 1.2 metres in height so they reach the top wire height. Some are that dry they only reach about 50 cms and of course they’re always flowering but the quality and size of the bloom is restricted. They are well mulched and when I dig them to post sales orders they are dry, yet have perfect white healthy roots and rhizomes. That recent 3 inches of rain didn’t even get down through the mulch.”

“About 4 years ago, before the water restrictions came in, you could stand tall and be hidden by the Cannas, but now I have to squat so my 3 kids don’t find me when I want some quiet time, lol.”

“I simply love all my cannas, I don’t know what else would give me so much colour and joy in our dry conditions; our cow paddocks are back to dust, once again even the weeds have turned yellow and gone to a better place. The drought that we have now has come much later compared to last summer, and that is probably why they have coped so well compared to then.”

“Betta go, empty some buckets out then shower. Things will improve but not this summer, for next summer I'll start watering early spring from the tank and re-mulch and they will be better off over the summer. The pictures above were all taken on 7th Jan this year, not the tallest for height, but they were perfect beautiful plants... take care.”

Raelene, Victoria State, Australia

Canpelkni Blooms

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