I have cannas and elephant ears. When would be a good time to transplant them?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Tammy in Kentucky: Both cannas (rhizomes) and elephant ears (bulbs) are considered tropical for us. They are technically hardy in zone 8, although some Kentucky gardeners have luck growing them as perennials in the garden, and if this is the case they are either growing in a microclimate or are heavily mulched during a mild winter. Whether you are transplanting them from another area of the garden or taking them out of winter storage, you will want to wait until the frost-free date for your area passes (around May 10). Both of these plants provide lush, tropical foliage during the warm months and they are very easy to over-winter and well worth the effort. Elephant ears and cannas can be stored indoors during the winter months and then planted back in the garden next spring. Before or just after the first hard freeze, cut back the foliage of your bulbs/rhizomes and dig them up from the soil, being careful not to damage the actual bulb. Shake off any excess soil and place it in a paper bag for storage. Wear gloves when you dig up your plant because the tuber/roots can cause skin irritation for some gardeners. If the bulb or roots have any moisture to them, lay them out to dry before storing them. They should be kept in a cool, dark space such as a closet or a dry basement. These bulbs should not be exposed to freezing temperatures or moisture during this time. This practice can be done year after year for many seasons of enjoyment.