How to Store Canna Bulbs

Orange Canna Lily growing during raining season.
Although they are called canna lilies, canna does not belong to the lily family. Raththaphon Wanjit / Getty Images

Although cannas have a stem reminiscent of a ginger lily, and are often called canna lilies, they do not belong to the lily family [source: JLGarden Center]. Canna lilies can grow to as high as 8 to 10 feet (2.4 to 3 meters) tall and have a large spread. Their leaves are broad and flat, and resemble those of a banana tree. Canna lilies have either a bright red-orange or yellow flower that sits majestically on top of the plant, and bloom from late spring to early fall. The canna lily can be easily propagated through its seed or bulb [source: JLGarden Center, Heath]. Here's how to store canna bulbs over the winter so they can be planted come spring.

  1. Dig up the canna bulbs after the first frost in the fall. This is done by inserting a spade into the soil at a 45 degree angle, under the bulb. Slowly lift the spade and pry the bulb out of the ground.
  2. Shake off the soil from the bulb. If the soil is caked on, rinse the bulb off in warm water.
  3. Let the bulb to dry for two to three weeks after digging it up.
  4. Line the bottom of a bucket with newspaper. Place a row of bulbs on the newspaper. Place another layer of newspaper on top of the bulbs. Place another row of bulbs on top of the first row of bulbs. Continue this process until the bucket is full or you run out of bulbs.
  5. Store the uncovered bucket in a cool, dark place. Check your bulb periodically to make sure none are rotting. Cut away any parts of the bulbs that are rotting. As long as the temperature in the storage area doesn't drop below freezing, and no rot sets in, you will be able to replant the canna bulbs [source: Romer].