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I Live In Zone 6, New York. I Planted Some…

Diane Asked

I live in zone 6, New York. I planted some cannas bulbs in April of this year. No sign of growth at all so I covered the area with mulch. I added Miracle Gro and am still waiting. My neighbor’s are beautiful, and I don’t know what else to do.

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The Gardener’s Answer

Hello, Diane in New York: As gardeners we all make mistakes and this is how we learn. Each gardening zone has an average frost-free date and as a Louisville, Kentucky, gardener mine is May 10. This means that your frost-free date should be later than ours since in you are in a lower hardiness zone. So, planting your bulbs in April, I suspect that they were subject to freezing temperatures and the rhizomes are no longer viable. Bulbs and rhizomes can either be considered hardy or tender. The hardy bulbs can be planted and will grow year after year, but the tender ones like your cannas need to be dug up and stored indoors during the winter months and then planted each year after the frost-free date for your area passes. Unfortunately once they are damaged by freezing temperatures they are no longer worth keeping. Fortunately, they are not too expensive so you can try again next season or buy some that are already growing and save the rhizomes for planting next year. You can ask at your local garden center or contact your County Cooperative Extension Service and ask the Horticulture agent about the frost-free date for you area.

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