Sunday, October 20, 2013

Canna Lily from Seed

I never really have any luck with canna lilies. Japanese beetles usually devour the plants to mere stalks and they continue to be a growing problem every year that there's just so many of them. I've tried to dig up rhizomes to get rid of this plant but it never works.

This year seems to be a different story. There were just a handful of Japanese beetles that came around.

August 14, 2013 - Canna Lilies
 They grew big and took over the entire bed, quickly crowding out the other plants growing in there.

August 14, 2013 - Canna Lily seed pods
 It was pretty weird seeing the spiky seed pods on top of the plants. It turns out that each part of the pod has one large black seed that can be harvested from it.

August 14, 2013 - Canna Lily seeds
 I did a search online to see how the seeds are usually handled. The most overwhelming response is to resort to 'scarification' in order to activate the seeds into germinating. I couldn't find anything on winter sowing them. I decided that since scarification is usually the method, I went and scratched the seeds on sandpaper until I saw the white tissue and I popped two seeds into a plastic cup of water for several days.

They say that taproots are supposed to start peeking out after a couple days but I didn't have that luck. I left the seeds in the water for about a week before I decided that it must've been too cold in the house for them. I got a small container and put the seeds in there, and set them outside in full sun.

August 30, 2013 - Canna Lily seedling
 Finally, on August 30th, the first seedling pops out.

September 2, 2013
 I was also quite amazed at how fast this seedling was taking off.

September 10, 2013 - Canna Lily seedlings
 Eventually the second seed surfaced and the leaves were full on red, which I thought was pretty cool.

September 27, 2013 - Canna Lily seedlings getting bigger
 Without disturbing the soil they were in, I decided to repot it in a bigger pot since the green canna lily was getting quite big. The red continued to stay rather small.

October 20, 2013 - Canna Lily seedlings
This is what it looks like today, with the green canna lily being quite happy. I might have to re-pot this into a bigger pot at some point. The red is still pretty small and it seems to be struggling.

This was a pretty interesting experiment. While I did collect a lot of seeds, I ultimately decided that I was just going to stick to these two because of the bad luck I usually have with the canna lilies.We must've had a freak year with the lack of japanese beetles or something but it'll be a lot easier to defend two seedlings to see what their flowers are like, instead of germinating a huge batch and doing a lot of fighting if/when they come back next year.