Love Me Tender

Are you in love with some tender perennials?

… the cannas, the callas, the Peruvian daffodils, the gladioli, the dahlias, the four o’clocks …

When the frost arrives in my part of Canada it is time to dig those roots out of the ground or the pots and save them for another season.  If they are left in the ground they will just turn mushy and won’t grow for you next year.

This past year I grew my cannas in big black totes.  I find it so much easier to dig the roots this way.  No more back breaking digging for me.


The tub is put on its side with the garden wagon beside the plant table.  Tip the tub over and left off.  What an amazing root system the canna root develops over the season.  Then it is easy to pull the old root, break apart the soil and find the roots for storing.


The root is then trimmed of all leaves and excess roots and ready to store in the dark but dry well cupboard for the winter.  These are the roots from one tub of canna.  I had 3 big tubs growing this year.  I only planted 2 or 3 pieces per tub and always get more than that when they are dug.  I give the extras away to family and friends and on our local Freecycle group.


Peruvian daffodils are a favourite tender perennial of mine.  Again they are planted in big pots and can be moved to a prime location when they are blooming and then moved again once they stop.  The bulbs will multiply over the year as well.  These are dug and stored with the canna.


Four o’clocks have become a favourite in the past couple of years.  I had grown them from seed and always saved the seed.  A couple of years ago I received some roots from Veseys and they grew amazing plants.  I’ve added these to my tender perennials to dig and store.

I’ve been keeping track of the garden through a series of garden review posts since early spring.  I’m hoping this will give me some insight into how the garden grows over the year.  The gardens have been put to bed now, as they say.  They all look a little bare with just the odd plant sticking up (seed heads for the birds, and winter interest when the snow falls).  It was a great garden season with many blooms and discoveries.  There were more successes than failures.  But each failure became a learning experience.

I know that tender perennials are a lot of work and many gardeners don’t grow them or buy new each year as they can’t be bothered with the extra work of digging and storing.  I enjoy the satisfaction of seeing a bare root or tuber, planting it, watching it grow, enjoying the blooms, and trying it all over again the next year.

The frosty nights and mornings are here, so it is time to start thinking about digging all those tender perennials.

How about you?  Do you grow tender perennials?


More from The Gardener Side

plants … seed info … veggies & herbs … bulbs, corms, tubers … the gardens  … whimsy in the garden


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