Thursday, August 6, 2009

Musical Plants?

Please forgive me Paschelbel...
His is Canon in D
Mine is Canna in D Pot!

This was supposed to be 'Tropical Rose.' (That's what I ordered this Spring)
But that was not what was planted in this nice, large pot.
(photo taken June 10, 2009)

Tropical Rose is supposed to grow 2 feet tall with "Showy 3- to 4-inch blossoms in warm rose hues. The leaves are supposed to be dark green. (My antennae were alert right away, but I waited...)

(photo taken July 10, 2009)

Oops! The flowers aren't a "warm rose."
They look bright orange-y red, to me...

(photo taken July 16, 2009)

Cannas are grown from rhizomes planted 4" to 5" deep. Most varieties grow from 3 to 5 feet tall, however a few may reach 8 to 10 feet tall. The smaller, "dwarf" sizes are suitable for containers (which is one reason I picked this variety).

Cannas perform best in moist, well-drained soils in full sun, watering once a week with a balanced fertilizer. The advice is to remove the spent flowers to promote additional blooming(!).

Believe it or not, 'Tropical Rose' (the All-America Selection in 1992) is one of a Tropical Series and can be grown from seed! I was quite amazed by this fact and will leave one blossom in the attempt to harvest some seeds. I'd like to try starting some. According to information I have, seeds should be sown indoors in mid- to late-February in a commercial germination medium. One is advised to lightly cover the seeds and water, maintaining a temperature of 70 to 75 degrees F. Germination should occur in 7 to 14 days. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, they are to be transplanted to individual pots and planted outdoors after the danger of frost is past (this would be about mid-May, here in Iowa). This same information also states that the canna plants begun from seedlings should flower in about 90 to 120 days after the seeds were sown. Amazing!

We here in Iowa must dig and save the rhizomes indoors for the Winter, once the first freezing temperatures arrive. My information source** tells me to cut the plants back to 4 to 6" above the ground a few days after a hard, killing frost. Carefully dig up the canna clumps with a spade or for, leaving a small amount of soil around the rhizomes. Allow them to dry for several hours and store in large boxes, wire crates, or mesh bags in a cool (40 to 50 degrees F), dry location. (I consider my home to be in Zone 4, even though we're now listed as Zone 5. These plants wouldn't stand a chance trying to make it through our Winters!)

Large clumps can be divided in the Spring before planting. Each section should have at least 3 to 5 buds.

I did call the gardening catalog from which I ordered this plant. They surmised that somehow I'd received 'Pretoria.' Yes, it is pretty. And it's fitting my pot very well. However, they have promised to ship me 'Tropical Rose' this coming Spring. (I hope I remember to remind them!)

(Photo taken July 17, 2009)

** The information source to which I've been referring is a publication entitled "Cannas for Home Landscapes" published by the Iowa State University's University Extension office.

I know you've already seen a couple of these photos. I know I've already briefly mentioned this mix-up. But I began this post July 13 and kept it as a "draft." I couldn't dispose of it, once I saw all this helpful information on canna bulbs that you might appreciate reading. :-)

Have a great Summer's day!!


Dave@The Home Garden said...

As a former band director I was forced to groan at the pun knowing full well that I would make the same joke myself!

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Dave, Thanks! :-)

bobbie said...

"Canna in D Pot" I love it!

I have had no success with cannas. Don't know why. I'm so jealous of my daughter out in CA. She grows gorgeous ones all the time.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Funny post. I hope they send the correct thing next spring.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

I love the foliage of cannas, especially some of the darker ones. The Toronto Music Garden has plants that sway in the wind to match music you listen to on headphones! I was only there in winter, when no one was handing out headphones, but I could see from the dried foliage how wonderful it might be!

Rosemary said...

Thanks for the smile , is a disappointment when not what one is expecting..........

Rosey Pollen said...

Good pun!
I still think the Canna is pretty no mattter what kind they shipped you. I used to grow these in NE when we had humid summers. I miss 'em!

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Bobbie! I'm not sure I'm good at them, either. I grew one a couple of years ago that was Very beautiful... but when it came time to dig it in the Fall, I must have done something wrong (?) or else my basement isn't cool enough for storage... (it's a walk-out).

Thanks, Lisa. Me, too. (Like I say, I hope I remember to remind them!)

Monica, You have had some interesting experiences. Music while enjoying a garden... what a wonderful idea!! :-) Two summers ago I put out a Tropical variety with striped leaves and yellow flowers. It was beautiful! But I didn't do something right and the tubers died over the winter.

Rosemary, Thanks for commiserating.

Rosey, You are right, actually. This is a great plant. Do you think you could grow one in a pot??