Growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area. With a wiener dog.

January 7, 2015

Trimming cannas back after a frost in Phoenix, Arizona

Now that the cold overnight temperatures have risen to no less than 40 degrees, it's time to trim back the frost damage on the cannas.

Getting a cold snap, like we did recently in Phoenix, is not fatal to cannas. It got to slightly below freezing for a few nights and it did frost damage to the upper leaves. It looked awful for a few days. But really, it's a good idea to trim back the taller stalks anyway, so I got started on it yesterday. This is how to do it:

• Use a small curved saw and trim the stalks as close to the ground as you can. There is no sense just trimming off the tops. After the big old stalks are cut down, you will see the new shoots, which will grow like wildfire, and be beautiful in just a few days. I put out a tarp and throw the cut-down stalks into it. If you accidentally cut a few small shoots, don't worry, there are a lot more where those came from.

• Pull some of the larger stalks out. Yes, give them a yank, and pull. You will need to go back and pat the soil back down to be neat, but you will do no harm to the surrounding plants. As I was doing this yesterday, I noticed a couple of nice small bulbs with new shoots, which I planted in a slightly empty area.

• Water in well. Cannas are practically water plants, you can't overwater them. Give them a nice drink of water, mixed with Miracle-Gro. They will grow back, fast. Stand back!

Cannas growing back after being trimmed last year

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