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Starting Dried Bulbs

Category Bulbs
Q: Does anyone know what's the best way to start my dried elephant ear and canna bulbs? Should I start them in water inside until they re- hydrate? Or do I put them straight in the ground? I've herd that people will soak them in warm water with miracle grow, has anyone tried this? I pulled them out of the closet today and a few of them already have fresh starts on them.

Hardiness Zone: 6b
Delbert from WV

A: Delbert,

It isn't necessary to soak your bulbs before planting, especially if some of your them already have fresh starts. To get earlier blooms, you can pot them up in a soil-less potting mix and start them indoors about 5 weeks before your last frost. Otherwise plant them directly into the ground at the usual time. When planting, make sure they have proper drainage and mix a little compost in with the soil. You can top-dress the planting holes with an organic fertilizer, but the bulbs themselves shouldn't come in direct contact with any fertilizer.


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March 9, 20060 found this helpful

I dig my elephant ear and canna bulbs up every year and store them in the basement. The canna bulbs I just plant straight in the ground and they come up and multiply every year.


The elephant ear bulbs should not be planted until it is very warm outside - they don't like the cold ground, water thoroughly once and then not until green sprouts come up. Fertilize with 1/2 strength fertilizer on a regular basis.

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 9, 20060 found this helpful

I keep my canna bulbs in the attic and just plant them right in the container, They grow great for me in containers. I also put some chicken wire around the soil untill the leaves come up throught the holes in wire, then I remove the wire, keeps the little squirrels from digging the bulbs out, then after the are up a few inches, I sprinkle hot pepper poweder on the soil

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April 16, 20060 found this helpful

When you are starting your canna bulbs now, there is no need to prestart them in soiless mix in the house...unless you want to continually water them and fertilize them. Any potting soil will do. Depending on when you want blooms and how much growth you want on your rhizomes/roots will depend on where you want to grow them...inside early or outside straight into the warm ground.


Next year, store the cannas in dry garden dirt. They will not dry out and there will be no need to rehydrate them. I have tried many kinds of mediums and found that plain dry garden dirt works the best.

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