Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dividing Canna Lilies

All the recent rainfall in Central Texas has loosened the soil, making it the perfect time to dig up and divide bulbs and rhizomes.  Our house came with a section of orange canna lilies which have become very overcrowded, so I figured it was time to get digging and dividing.

First, I cut the stalks down.  It makes it much easier to dig up the rhizomes.

Using a shovel, I dug out huge clumps of the canna lilies.  These babies were long overdue for some dividing.  To divide, I first tried to get as much dirt off the roots as possible.  I then started breaking the rhizomes apart, making sure to leave at least one eye or stalk on each plant.

Here is an example of a two-inch piece of rhizome that had two eyes where small shoots were coming out.

Me diligently working on dividing the cannas.

By the time it was all said and done, I had about 200 rhizomes.  I decided to keep about 100 for myself and pass along the other 100.  I gave about 20 each to five of my lucky friends and neighbors.  I love passing along plants for others to enjoy!

I then replanted my cannas.  I planted them about 1 foot apart.  The instructions I read said to plant them 1-2 feet apart.  I had so many, I decided to keep it on the closer side.  It means that I'll have fuller foliage, but that I'll have to divide the cannas again a little sooner.

I had so many that I spaced them out in twice the area they were in before, fitting about 50 rhizomes in the picture above, but that left me with still another 50 to plant, so I decided to plant them along the back of the border, behind the gardenias and pomegranate tree.  Hopefully they look good next year and I won't have to divide them for a few more years!


  1. Great work! I can't wait to see the results next year when you have a lovely row of cannas established all along the fence. You are wise to spread their impact. Cannas are one of those garden gifts that keep on giving...

    1. Thanks! Part of me was thinking maybe I was holding onto too many and that my garden will be overwhelmed by cannas next year. But then I thought, if that happens, I'll just dig them up next year and give them away ;-)