GGarden Bulbs for Summer - Canna & Alstroemeria
17th March, 2009
by Bob Willard, General Manager of www.dejager.co.uk
Cannas are so big, bold and colourful and I think it is such a shame that they are rarely seen in people’s gardens. This half-hardy plant blooms from mid-summer until the onset of frosts and it can make a great centrepiece in bedding schemes and large containers. Their architectural form and stunning flower colours give such a tropical look to the garden. It’s no wonder they are a favourite with flower arrangers who love their large blooms, up to 5ins (12.5cm) across, with large leaves. They are so decorative.
For the best results start the rhizomes plant horizontally in peat in March and then plant out in early June. Lift the plants in autumn and dry out the rhizomes before storing them in sand or peat. As with any rhizomes, it is wise to dust them in sulphur before storing. To grow as a pot plant, plant in March, set in an inch of compost (2.5cm) below the surface and repot every year.
Cannas loves a humus rich soil and to bathe in full sun. They should be planted out in June, 12inches (30cm) apart and will grow to a height of 12inches (30cm).
Another favourite cutting flower is the Alstromeria as the flowers last so long after cutting and it really is an easy plant to look after.
Plant the tubers in March or April, 5inches (12cms) deep in a sheltered sunny position in the garden, in a well-drained fertile soil. Unlike many tubers, Alstromeria prefers to be left untouched in the ground for several years. So choose a space where they can stay happily undisturbed.
Occasionally, no top growth is seen during the first year, so don’t worry if this happens to you. Also, until the clumps are established, it is best to remove only a few flower stems for indoor use. When necessary, use twiggy sticks for support.
Remember to deadhead Alstromeria unless you need some seeds and, when autumn arrives, cut the stems down to the ground level after the leaves have died.
During the dormant winter period they appreciate being tucked up in a mulch of peat or composted material. This should even be done to those that have shown no top growth the first year, so remember where you planted them!
P. de Jager & Sons Limited has been selling top quality, top size bulbs for over 140 years. Their new summer collection has just been launched, so visit www.dejager.co.uk for more information.
Canna - Lucifer
Alstroemeria - Aurea Lutea