How To Cut Back Cannas For Winter (7 Specific Steps)

Cannas or canna lily is a species of perennial plant in tropical climates. This plant has broad foliage and iris-like flowers that are red, pink, or yellow.

Many gardeners love to grow cannas plants in pots or gardens because they bring the beauty of nature, and flowers bloom for a long time. In particular, you do not have to spend a lot of effort to plant and take care of it.

However, it is characteristic of this plant that it prefers warm temperatures, so they often thrive in the summer months. In winter, leaves and stems begin to wilt and die, so pruning is extremely important to protect the root system and return to growth when temperatures are warm.

How to cut back cannas for winter. Follow the procedure below to preserve your cannas’ root system this coming spring.

How To Cut Back Cannas For Winter – 7 Steps To Take

To do the right pruning of the cannas plant, you need to prepare the necessary tools and supplies for storage. Here are 7 important notes that you need to pay attention to go through this whole process

1. Prepare scissors and sharp tools and disinfect

The first important note is that you need to prepare scissors or sharp cutting tools and clean them. Wipe them with eucalyptus oil, alcohol, or disinfectant to remove bacteria or rust.

how to cut back cannas for winter

Just imagine that if a healthy tree is suddenly cut off, it will suffer great damage and stress. Therefore, it is extremely important to protect against bacterial, fungal, or insect attacks during this time.

So, make sure to dry your cutting tools with a towel or paper before pruning your cannas plant.

2. Cut off old leaves, flowers, and branches in autumn

When the temperature starts to get cold, the cannas plant will grow very slowly and stop growing when the temperature is too cold. Therefore, they will begin to hibernate like other plants.

Falling leaves, flowers, and old branches turning brown or yellow are signs that the cannas plant has grown slowly. You can proceed to prune the yellow leaves, flowers, and old branches from this point.

You should not remove large stems during early fall. Let them die on their own and wither away. This means that the root system inside the soil can absorb some of the nutrients from the stem under extreme conditions.

The roots can use the nutrients from the stem to nourish the tubers and wait for the growth when spring comes.

The time for pruning can begin in late autumn or early winter. Whenever you see signs of leaves turning brown or yellow and brown spots appear on the leaves, you can prune them.

3. Trim and retain the height of the 5-inch body

After you prune the leaves, flowers, and old branches that are not growing, wait until the trunk starts to dry, and do a second pruning. You cut the entire stem and keep only the height of the stem is 5 inches.

The meaning of this is to prevent fungi, bacteria, and insects from the soil from attacking the tree trunk. Pruning the entire stem will also help the root system not lose energy and nourish the stem in the winter.

From there, the roots will store energy and maintain this energy to grow when the temperature is warm again.

When cutting the stem of a cannas plant, you should cut in one direction and create corners. This will make it easier for water to drain from the stem and prevent fungus from growing due to the humid environment.

4. Cleaning and dividing root branches

If you leave the entire root system of a cannas plant in the ground during the winter, they are very susceptible to rot and spoilage.

When the temperature is too cold, the tubers can freeze, after the ice melts and water will cause the tubers to rot. Therefore, many gardeners often prefer the method of preserving cannas’ plant bulbs in containers and replanting them in the spring of the next year.

You can dig up the entire root system of the cannas plant, tapping to remove some soil. Then, remove the rotten or damaged bulbs to avoid spreading to the entire root. Use scissors or a sharp (sterilized) knife to separate them into small clumps.

Clean the cannas plant bulbs and let them dry for a few hours. This will remove moisture and water to prevent root rot.

Read more: Overwintering Canna Lilies In Pots (Simple Steps)

5. Cover and keep the root system warm

If you do not dig up the root system of the cannas plant, you can cover it with straw, wood mulch, and dry leaves to prevent the plant from freezing. However, this may not be helpful if the outside temperature is too cold.

The best way is to put the root branches of the cannas plant in a wooden crate. Cover with a layer of straw, wood mulch, or coir at least 1 inch thick, then space the roots apart and cover with the next layer of mulch.

Cover and make sure the vents work, place them in a garage, indoors, or in an area that’s not freezing, dry, and about 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

6. Keep the soil moist but don’t let them sprout

It is important to keep the root branches of a cannas plant alive, keeping them moist. However, you should not water a lot in winter because it can create favorable conditions for fungus to grow.

You must check the humidity and evapotranspiration in the container area. Water once a month to maintain moisture and prevent roots from sprouting too early when temperatures are still low.

7. Nourish the stem to regrow in the spring

The Cannas plant will thrive again when temperatures return to warm. The root system will not develop during the cold months and will grow back in the spring.

When the temperature shows signs of warming, you can plant root branches in small pots to stimulate the growth of young sprouts. Once the sprouts are solid, you can plant them in the ground as soon as the temperatures return to warm.

Cannas plant can grow 2-3 feet tall in 3 weeks, so its growth rate is very fast in full sun. Do not forget to supplement nutrients with fertilizers or organic fertilizers such as chicken manure, or animal manure.


Cannas plant is a plant that does not tolerate low temperatures in winter. So they tend to die or spoil when it’s cold. Pruning and preserving the root system of the cannas plant in the winter is essential.

For proper pruning, you need to prepare sharp and disinfected scissors. Trim the older leaves and stems in the fall, then trim the entire stem and keep only 5 inches in height. During the winter, you need to keep the root system warm and avoid freezing and rot.

Store them in wooden crates with a layer of straw, sugar cane, or coir to avoid too cold temperatures. Place the storage bin in a dry place and regularly check the humidity in the container.

After warm weather, watch the sprouts grow and plant them back into the ground and you will have a forest of cannas flowers in the summer with many vibrant colors.

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