Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Random plant event: Canna NOID

Last year, I saved as many seeds from the Cannas as I could collect, with the intention of starting all of them as new plants. Because everybody -- I in particular -- always needs more Cannas. It wound up being about 150 seeds, which I sanded down and soaked in water for a couple days, as you do, and then I made a bunch of little holes in a bed in the yard and dropped a seed in each hole. Flooded the bed with water a few times, and then . . . nothing happened. There was a long enough delay that I concluded that the seeds had died, and I was really disappointed about that (not to mention all the time I thought I'd wasted on seed collection and sanding and so forth).

But after I'd given up, the seeds began to sprout. I don't have anywhere near the 150 I tried to start, but I counted 22 up five days ago, and 37 yesterday, so we may be getting there.

I can't remember where I saw it, but at some point I was doing research about whether or not Cannas can bloom in their first year from seed, and if I'm remembering correctly, it's possible but not certain. I don't really have any strong feelings either way: I'll have flowers from the parent plants whether the babies flower or not. At this point, all I really care about is that 1) it turns out to be possible to start Cannas from seed, like everybody says, and 2) whether they're going to grow fast enough to shade out all the weeds. (I'm already pretty tired of pulling weeds, and it hasn't even gotten hot yet.)

I should also remind readers that the book giveaway remains open until Friday, so if you missed that post, check it out and leave a comment.


Crafty Gardener said...

I've tried canna from seed but didn't have much luck ... perhaps not patient enough.

Paul said...

Any idea what flower colors are likely?

Do you pull your canna up for winter storage? As I recall they are not winter hardy BUT up at my folks' place (zone 5) there are glads (which by all accounts are not hardy in that zone) which I planted 10-15 yrs ago. Never bothered to lift them and they come up every year and multiple like crazy. Some times its a good thing that plants can read and thus remain ignorant of what they can't do.

mr_subjunctive said...


Probably just red; all the parents were red, and I'm not aware of any other colors of Canna being grown nearby.

We do pull them up for storage inside, every fall. It's possible that that might not be necessary, since recent winters have been warmer than normal, and plain red Cannas would be easy to replace, in the event that they failed to come back, but we pull them up anyway because 1) that way I can see how much they've grown, because it's something I'm curious about, and 2) I don't have to do it myself: I can get the husband to do it instead.

Molly Day said...

That seems like pretty good germination rate for seeds planted directly into the ground.
Fun project - sounds like something I would try.
Last winter I divided lily bulbs into their little garlic-clove-pieces and planted them in trays indoors. Just to see if I could grow plants from them. It worked.Now I have 60 lily plants.