Cannas or canna lily is a species of plant in the lily family. They have wide, tall foliage and flowers that bloom for a long time. The color of the flower is usually red, yellow, or orange.
This plant prefers warm temperatures and high humidity. Their growing season is in spring or summer when temperatures are warm.
The process of growing canna lily is very simple and does not require much care. Therefore, you can easily find this flower in a pot or the garden of every family.
Propagation of canna lily can be easily done from the tuber part of the plant. Therefore, the preservation of tubers as well as their survival is an important issue for gardeners.
One of the most common questions around this: How to tell if canna bulbs are dead. Is there any simple way to check? Or what are the signs that the tubers are dead? Let’s find out in the article below.
How To Tell If Canna Bulbs Are Dead – Try With Water
As you know, the canna lily is a tropical climate plant so it will stop growing and die when winter comes. Normally, leaves, flowers, and older stems will begin to turn yellow or brown as temperatures begin to cool in the fall.
So, if you want to keep this plant alive during the winter, it’s best to dig up the whole tubers and preserve them before freezing. When spring is warm again, you can replant them and have a colorful canna lily garden.
Canna bulbs if properly maintained and checked regularly, will have a strong vitality and can completely sprout when the temperature is warm again.
So how to tell if canna bulbs are dead or not? Canna bulbs are considered dead and incapable of sprouting when they are completely dry or rotten.
In addition, if you plant bulbs in the ground for 2 months with ideal soil and moisture conditions and they still don’t grow, they are considered dead.
The phenomenon of completely dry tubers is because during storage you do not provide enough moisture for the tubers or are exposed to high temperatures causing them to lose water. Dehydration will result in the tubers being unable to maintain their energy and then dying.
The rotting phenomenon is caused by canna bulbs being stored in a very humid environment. Frozen tubers or wet tubers for a long time will create favorable conditions for fungi and pests to develop.
They will attack the tubers and rot, the tubers will be soft, humus and stink. This is a sign that you can completely observe with the naked eye.
Also, there is a simple way to check if canna bulbs are dead or alive that are using water. As you know, canna bulbs are very heavy because they are perennial plants so you can check their weight in water.
If the canna bulbs were floating on the water, they would have died due to being completely dry and light in weight. If the tubers sink into the water, life is still alive because they still maintain the amount of water and energy in the tuber.
How To Properly Store Canna Bulbs
It is important that you properly store canna bulbs when winter arrives so they can grow back next spring. Usually, when winter comes, you should dig up the whole tubers of canna and store them to prevent freezing.
Here are some tips you can follow:
- Dig up the entire root system of canna lily gently and avoid breaking the sprouts
- Tap to remove excess soil and clean the soil
- Soak tubers in disinfectant solution to remove fungus and pests. Then let the tubers dry naturally for a few hours
- You can divide the clumps into small clusters for easy storage. Each cluster should contain 1 to 2 bulbs with sprouts
- Prepare a wooden crate, covered with coal moss, wood mulch, or coir at least 1 inch thick
- Use paper to cover the tubers and place them far apart. This will limit contact and cause rotting
- Continue to cover a layer of humus or coir on top
- Break the lid with a vent hole to avoid high humidity that leads to fungus and pests attack
- Place the crate in the garage, grow room, or cellar as long as it doesn’t freeze in the winter. A cool and dry place is ideal for storage or even a refrigerator
- Regularly check the humidity or fresh water once a month to maintain the life of the canna bulbs
How To Make Sure Canna Bulbs Live When Planted?
After the storage period, if your canna bulbs still maintain life, the sprouts can grow, then you proceed to plant them in the ground. You can test by dropping in water or the firmness of the tubers.
4-5 weeks after the last frost of winter, you can start growing the bulbs in pots.
This is to stimulate tuber growth in warm indoor conditions and then when the temperature is warm you can plant them in the ground.
The best time to plant canna bulbs is late spring or early summer. However, the temperature is still the most important factor in this regard. If the soil temperature remains above 60 degrees F, you can plant canna bulbs at any time.
Choose an area with 6-8 hours of light per day to stimulate the growth of this plant. You need to till the soil 12 to 15 inches, then fertilize to increase the nutrients and stimulate the growth of the sprouts.
You need to check the humidity before watering and only water when the ground is dry because overwatering will cause the bulbs to rot and spoil.
If conditions are right, canna lily will grow quickly and can grow to 2-3 feet tall in about 3 weeks. So they will grow very quickly and bloom throughout the summer.
Checking if canna bulbs are alive or dead is an important job when starting to plant them in the ground. Sometimes, you can feel it dead but they can still grow if planted in the ground.
This confusion can occur during long-term storage and canna bulbs can lose some water. Check the tuber’s firmness to determine if it’s rotten and damaged.
Then, you put them in a pot of water, if the tubers float on the water, they have died because they have completely dried out. If they sink into the water, they are still alive because they still maintain the amount of water in the tubers.
You must store them properly so that canna bulbs can grow back when summer comes. You can refer to how to preserve canna bulbs in a detailed article here.