Dividing Canna lilies

A few days ago I was just checking my Canna Lilies in the greenhouse when I came across this pot, it’s supposed to be round. Canna Lilies and their rhizomes can grow quite quickly and out grow their pots sometimes with spectacular results, I caught this one in time. Luckily the solution is easy, in fact there are two solutions, one is get a bigger pot, the other is to divide it and make more plants. This is a post about the latter, dividing Canna Lilies.

You can see that once it’s out of the pot there is a big old mess of roots and rhizome, it’s hard to see what’s what so the first thing to do is clean it up a bit so we can have a look at what we’ve got.

Having cleared away just a little of the soil you can start to see the different sections of the rhizome and can start to decide how you want to divide it up. The really depends on what size sections you want and on how many you can actually make from it. For each section you really need at least some root attached and at least one growing stem. These are pretty easy to spot as they’ll have nice fresh upward growing shoots as you can see on the right here.

Canna lily rhizome
You can just pull the sections apart, it really wont be a problem but if you want to divide it accurately or into smaller sections then it’s really better to use a knife to cut it up. This one I decided to cut into 4 new much smaller plants as I intend to grow them on and I’ve plenty of larger ones already to plant out when the weather warms up, certainly after the last frost.

Here are the cut sections, each of these should happily grow on to be another healthy plant, in a few years probably out growing their new pots. It’s best to let the cut sections dry and scab over for a day or so before potting them up but after that set them with the top an inch or so below the soil level. Each of these went nicely into a 1L pot.

Most rhizomes will be content with the same treatment which is why you can grow a ginger plant from a chunk bought from the shops. Unfortunately although I’ve managed to germinate ginger I’ve never got it beyond 1 season, I’ll persevere but if anyone else has had success please let me know what made it work for you.

One thought on “Dividing Canna lilies

  1. Julia Barton

    I haven’t looked at my ONE Canna plant in the greenhouse yet, but it might still be alive, in which case I will probably clean it up a bit and put in into a bigger pot. Thanks for the reminder to do something about it

    Montcuq, France

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