Saving Four O'clock Tubers

not_a_contessa(z5b S Central PA mtns.)October 1, 2009

Does anyone manage to save theirs, and if so would you share your method please? My WS fuscia 4:00 had some nice tubers and I would love to get them to grow again for me next year.

Thanks, Mary

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greylady_gardener

Hi Mary, I tried saving a tuber last year....just dug it up and shook off the soil. Then I threw it and some canna tubers in a styrofoam box that had lots of holes for air circulation and put it down in the basement under the stairs and forgot it until about mid June (yikes!!) I was afraid that it was too late to plant it, but did it anyway. It did look awful==very dry and shrivelled up, but after a week or so it did start to grow and it is flowering profusely right now!
I plan to dig up the same tuber this year.
BTW when I dug it up last year it was very small, but it still worked so I am very happy!
the reason I did it is because I seem to be rather challenged in the seed starting area when it comes to four o'clocks. they just don't start very well for me.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2009 at 6:41PM
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laura_in_cinti(6)

I got some Four O'Clocks tubers from a friend five years ago and I'm still pulling up volunteers...so if your tubers don't make it, you can always rely on it to reseed in Zone 6.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2009 at 8:06PM
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not_a_contessa(z5b S Central PA mtns.)

Laura, I'm afraid I won't have a re-seed problem because I didn't have any flowers, I planted them out too late.

Graylady, I was thinking about storing them in a brown paper bag as I did in the past with Calla lilies, but I wanted to get others' opinions on that. They are small but they look like they will grow again.

Mary

    Bookmark   October 1, 2009 at 10:22PM
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PVick

Dig them up, shake off excess dirt and store them in peat in a cool, dry dark place. That's what I plan to do - my 4 o'clocks were planted out late too, Mary. I did get buds and flowers (though I never saw any open), but it doesn't look like there will be any seeds.

I've stored other tubers/rhizomes in the same manner, putting them in a brown paper bag and sticking them in a box at the bottom of the linen closet. That's worked so far ...

PV

    Bookmark   October 1, 2009 at 10:40PM
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not_a_contessa(z5b S Central PA mtns.)

Thanks PV, I have a closet that should work. I have seeds for white and I think yellow but that fuscia really appeals to me.

I stored something else in the past but I don't remember what it was. Maybe oriental lilies. Which reminds me, I have to dig those up too, I'm waiting for the seed pods to dry.

Mary

    Bookmark   October 1, 2009 at 10:59PM
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albertar(z7 LINY)

Mary
I've been collecting seeds from my fuschia ones for weeks now, if you want some seeds let me know. BTW, I've found I don't have to dig the tubers anymore, they over winter fine in the ground and come up the following year fine here.

Alberta

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 9:15AM
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not_a_contessa(z5b S Central PA mtns.)

Alberta, thanks for the seed offer, the tubers I have are from fuscia that's why I want to save them. I may try planting a couple of them to see if they will over-winter like yours do, I have enough to do that experiment. This is z6 but for some things it acts like z5 because of the altitude. How deep are your tubers planted?

Mary

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 11:57AM
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greylady_gardener

Mary, I think that as long as the tubers are stored in something 'breathable', they should be fine. Paper bags should work fine. I used the styrofoam boxes as they had lots of large holes and I knew the air would be able to circulate well.
I wish you much success with your venture....just don't forget about them next spring! :)

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 3:39PM
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albertar(z7 LINY)

Mary
I don't know how deep they are planted, they started out as seeds about 5 years back, and in the fall I just cut off the plant to the soil level and said, "lets see if they over winter." They did, LOL. I do mulch heavily with shredded leaves in the late fall. Give it a try and see what happens. A friend of mine has these beautiful canna's that she never digs up, doesn't mulch and they come back yearly for her, so I tried that with mine and I lost all of my canna's, she is only about 20 miles away from me. Go figure.

Alberta

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 6:24AM
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v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

Very interesting. So my limelight has tubers too?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 9:28AM
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greylady_gardener

v1rtu0s1ty--it should have :) although mine was rather small and just looked like a fat part in the root. Save it no matter what it looks like--nothing ventured nothing gained, eh?

Alberta--depends on where the cannas were planted--does your friend have hers' planted against the foundation of her house? I have a neighbour that never digs her huge yellow dahlias because they are planted against her foundation. They have been there for years.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 10:59AM
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flower_addict88(7A NC)

On the cannas overwinter note....

I am going to leave mine in the ground under mulch.

Everyone around here has huge clumps of the Richard Wallace cannas. Some are against houses others are just out in the fields/yards. They are everywhere! Most that I have seen arent mulched either. No sign of the cannas virus in them. Obviously from the huge clumps (I mean 8-10 foot wide) they have been there for awhile. In front of an apartment complex there is a huge area of them in the front yard. The owner weed whacked them down a month or so ago. They have grown their foliage back to about 1-1 1/2 ft wide and are blooming again.

Danielle

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 2:02PM
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vera_eastern_wa(5a-5b)

I'm going to try saving some tubers this year too, I tried last fall, but when I saw how dried up they looked in spring I tossed them out and sowed some more. Ended up having to direct sow them this time though; since for whatever reason they didn't want to germinate in the containers this year. They came up kinda late and just started blooming a week ago so might not have much of a tuber...hmmm
I agree, it depends on where the Canna are planted. At the campus where I rec'd my greenhouse/nursery degree there were Cannas planted next to the foundation of a building and surrounded by cement walks on the other sides. They never had to be dug up those years I spent on campus:)

Vera

    Bookmark   October 4, 2009 at 10:51AM
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trudi_d

My Mom used to save hers, she would just dig them up after first frost, cut off the stems, shake off the dirt and just dump them into a paper grocery bag. She rolled up the top and stuck it in the basement for the winter. Amazingly, the tubers, which were nearly the size of bowling balls, would start to sprout towards the middle of spring. Around Mother's Day she would take them out of the bags and plant them back into the holes they had come from.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2009 at 3:37PM
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not_a_contessa(z5b S Central PA mtns.)

What a scream, Trudi; I can just imagine what those bowling balls must have looked like LOL. Fortunately mine are just tiny tubers now, but is that what I have to look forward to in the future? I won't be able to lift them. How many years did it take for them to get that big?

Also just a reminder to anyone who grew sweet potato vines...they make tubers too and will grow new plants in the spring for you. I just dug up 3 of them to store the same way as 4:00.

Mary

    Bookmark   October 4, 2009 at 5:00PM
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newbie_in_nj(6b E/Central NJ)

Thanks for the instructions...saves me having to figure it out!

I pulled one tuber because it was in the way of "deer destroyed" bushes that will be removed this month from in front of house.

I want to save my Limelight Rose tubers for next year.

It looked like an upside down black pyramid or tapering thick black carrot.

The basement is a consistent 60 degrees during winter.

Is that cold enough?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2009 at 6:40PM
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not_a_contessa(z5b S Central PA mtns.)

Newbie, that's a perfect description of what mine look like.

I don't think cold is a necessary factor here. I store my Calla Lily bulbs in the pantry, which is room temperature, around 69 to 71 degrees. I will be storing the tubers in the same place.

Mary

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 2:28PM
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trudi_d

Hi Not_A.

Well, to be truthful, Mom didn't say Bowling Balls. We do have some families visit this site--we need to kepp it family friendly--and so I substitued the word Bowling for Elephant ;-)

My Mother got her tubers from a neighbor on the end of the block--when he gave them to her they were larger than a softball. Mom grew them probably another five or six years before I remember them being so large. So, it's quite likely that the tubers were a good eight or nine years old when they were that size. Her garden was in the Upper Catskills, on the north face of a mountain, and in a micro-climate of zone 4b, once in a blue moon it went down to -30, but that was very rare.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 3:39PM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Note to Mary: Why do you have to dig your oriental lilies? I am in zone 5 and mine stay in the ground until they need to be divided - 3 to 5 years.

Re. 4 O'clocks - The first time I grew them I heard about saving the tubers, but they were so puny I discarded them. I find them very easy to grow from seed each year, but this year I planted about 5 different varities, and some of them (Limelight, Kaleidoscope, White) have not set seed. Now I will save those tubers for next year. In prior years, I never saw the flowers open or got the scent, but I have been going out after dark and that is when they open and give off their lovely perfume. Same for Datura.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 5:02AM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

Mary: I dumped a pot already which contained sweet potato vine, the pot just looked crappy and I was in "pitch it and compost it" mode. It had had no frost yet. Can I still save them, or is that frost necessary? I haven't pitched those tubers yet.

Karen

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 6:19AM
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not_a_contessa(z5b S Central PA mtns.)

Hi Northerner, I have to dig my oriental lilies because they are in a big pottery planter. I want them to go into their permanent home now. I still have one in the pot that has large seed pods on it. Can Casa Blanca lilies be grown from seed?

Karen, I didn't have any frost on my sweet potato vines, I just dug them up and saved the tubers because I planted a chrysanthemum in that wooden tub. If you can find the tubers you can save them. One year I just left them out on a kitchen counter and they were fine.

Trudi, that's amazing, I never imagined tubers of Mirabilis getting that large, what a visual!

Mary

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 10:20AM
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gardencrazy(6 Southern Ohio)

It sounds simple enough. Do you do dahlia and Caladium the same way?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 10:52AM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

Four o'clocks come from tubers/like rhizones or seeds? I just learned something new.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2009 at 11:14PM
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trudi_d

Four o Clocks are first started by seed and their plants develop tubers. Pieces of tubers can be broken off, reburied and most will "take" and grow new plants.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2009 at 11:30PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

My four o clocks reseed but also come up from last year's tubers outside with no mulch. I would like to dig them and move them. The bowling ball story is making me reconsider that idea. We have had mild winters, so one of these years they may not make it. They have been coming up for several years and the plants are like shrubs.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 7:06PM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

You mean I should have saved and planted those tubers from that sweet potatoe vine that I dug up/threw out? Oh my, one can learn a lot from this website. I'm so glad I found it! Thanks to all of you for sharing your knowledge and expericiences.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 9:24AM
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