Transplanting Canna Lily Bulbs
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Transplanting Canna Lily Bulbs

Transplanting canna lily bulbs is best done during the winter when the bulbs are dormant.  Canna lilies will produce many new bulbs during the growing season meaning you can rapidly expand your plot or create new areas to grow these beautiful plants without spending any extra money.

Cannas are hardy plants that enjoy a position in full sun but will tolerate part shade. They make a wonderful backdrop against a fence with dwarf cannas or shorter bulbs planted in front.  Try planting a clump in the middle of a round plot with smaller plants around the edge.

Canna lilies come in many different varieties from the tall Tropicana to smaller dwarf varieties which are suitable for pots.  It is a good idea to divide the bulbs every two to three years however, they can be divided after the first year to increase the number of lilies you have.

Tools and Materials Needed

Shovel – If you need a new shovel try this top rated shovel from Amazon. (Paid link)

Compost or Soil Improver if Needed



Time needed: 30 minutes.

How to Transplant Canna Lily Bulbs

  1. Water Dry Ground

    If it hasn’t rained recently water the canna lilies well a few hours before you dig.

  2. Dig Out the Bulbs

    Working your way around the outside edge of the clump of bulbs, angle your shovel down and slightly towards the plant.  Carefully prise the bulbs upwards being careful not to hit them with the shovel.

    Digging out the canna lily bulbs.

  3. Divide the Bulbs

    It does not matter if the clump breaks apart.  Once you have a clump out of the ground pull apart the bulbs keeping a few bulbs together with at least one good shoot per group.

    Dividing the canna lilies into smaller clumps.

  4. Reduce Transplant Shock

    Place the bulbs in a bucket of water to reduce transplant shock while you prepare the new planting spot.

  5. Dig the New Hole

    Dig a hole approximately 8 inches (20cm) wide by 8 inches (20cm) deep.  Each hole should be 24 to 32 inches (60 to 80cm) apart.

  6. Improve the Soil

    Canna lilies are hardy plants that will grow in most soils but if you have clay soils add compost to improve the soil.

  7. Plant the Bulbs

    Plant the canna bulbs 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10cm) deep with the roots down and the tips facing up then cover with soil.  If you live in a dry climate make a well around the plant so the water will stay where it is needed.

    Plant canna lily bulbs 2 to 4 inches deep.

  8. Mulch

    Mulch then water in well.

    Canna bulbs planted and mulched.

How to Care for Canna Lilies

It is best to wait until spring to apply a either a slow release fertiliser or add a layer of compost around the base of the plant under the mulch.  For best results apply liquid fertiliser every two weeks and cut off spent flowers regularly to encourage new flowers.

Canna lilies do need regular watering but are very hardy.  They will grow and produce flowers during drought conditions as long as you are able to water them every few days during the hottest part of the year.  They will enjoy a good soaking on the hottest days.

Once the frost has burnt the leaves cut back the foliage 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10cm) from the ground.  It is easiest to cut the thick stalks with loppers.  The leaves and stalks can be added to your compost pile.  Try chopping the leaves and stalks with your shovel before adding to the compost to help decomposition.

Pruning canna lilies in the winter.

Protect the bulbs from heavy frosts by applying a thick layer of mulch.

Growing Canna Lilies in Pots

Dwarf canna lilies are perfect for pots.  Try placing a pot of cannas on either side of your front door for a sunning display.  They will grow 23 inches to 47inches wide (60cm to 1.2m) and 32inches (80cm) high.

Plant 2 inches (5cm) deep in a large pot at least 8 inches (20cm) in diameter for best results.  Fertilise every 2 weeks with liquid fertiliser (paid link) during the growing season. In warmer areas they will flower from spring through to fall.

Looking for new pots? Try these quality unbreakable resin pots from Amazon. (Paid link)


Some taller varieties of canna lily can also be grown successfully in pots but take care that they are placed in a position out of the wind.

Looking for another variety of canna lily? Try this beautiful bright red bloomed canna lily (paid link) which is 6 feet tall, perfect for background planting.

To Print or Save this guide to transplanting canna lily bulbs, click the button below for the PDF file.

Are you looking to increase your flower garden without spending any money? Try this guide to Transplanting Calla Lilies, try Geranium Cuttings or Dividing Dianthus, try Transplanting a Rose to a new position if it is poorly or Propagate Cactus plants to add interesting texture to your plot.

Do you love growing and preserving food? Try this Homesteading guide.

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