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    Cut the dead tops of coneflowers, but leave enough for goldfinches to enjoy the seeds.

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    Continue to harvest produce, which may be getting a boost now from slightly cooler weather. Keep watering sage, rosemary and other perennial herbs so they’ll be in good shape to get through winter.

    Prepare to bring houseplants back indoors: remove dead leaves, scrub soil from the sides of the pots, treat for insects. Bring tropical plants in before nighttime temperatures dip to 55 degrees.

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Cannas multiply, time to divide

Question: I planted cannas several years ago and they have multiplied. I’d like to move some of them to a different location. When is the best time to transplant them?

CannasIn the University of Tennessee Extension Master Gardener Handbook, cannas are listed among the “tender bulbs and bulblike plants” along with caladiums, dahlias and gladiolus. At one time, it was recommended that these tubers be dug up and stored to protect them from the cold, but most gardeners in Middle Tennessee (Zone 7a) now find that they make it through winter just fine, especially if they spend winter under a blanket of mulch.

If you want to move them, an opportunity for doing so is coming up. According to the handbook, cannas can be dug in the fall after the foliage has been killed by frost. Allow the tubers to dry for a couple of days, then store them in a cool location (50 degrees or so – a garage or basement, perhaps) where they won’t dry out completely. The Old Farmer’s Almanac suggests storing them in peat moss or wrapping them in newspaper, and sprinkling them with a bit of water every now and then during the winter. Next spring, plant the tubers in a sunny spot when the soil has warmed to 65 degrees.

You may also wait until spring to divide the tubers. Mark their location now, and in the spring, use a garden fork to dig carefully and lift the tubers from the ground. Separate them, cut off any rotten or diseased bits, and replant them. Cannas do best in a location where they receive full sun.

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2 Responses

  1. Gloria, I have two questions. One, when is the best time to divide and replant Black-eyed Susans and Shasta Daisies, in the fall or spring.

    Two, when I made a contribution to the Arbor Foundation I received some baby flowering trees. I kept the Crapapple and gave the others away. The tree has grown and flourished, but has never produced blooms. Nothing was said about its needing an opposite sex tree in order to bloom. Can you tell me what the problem is and how to rectify it?

    Thanks so much, Linda

  2. Linda, both black eyed Susans and shasta daisies can be divided and replanted now. Prepare the new bed before you dig them up and divide them and replant them right away. Planting now gives the root systems a chance to get established before next spring.
    As for the flowering crabapple: How old is it? I read everywhere that sometimes it takes flowering crabs three or four years to begin to bloom. It also needs about six hours of full sun each day. Could either youth or shade be the problem?

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