Canpelkni Blooms

Spring and checking for virus

Back in the 1990’s, before the rapid spread of the canna viruses, we were told by the experts of that time to never judge the health of a canna by the first leaf, as its condition reflects the conditions that it was grown in last year and the way it had been stored over the winter, as it is using stored energy in the rhizome to start growing again.
It will probably also be without a working root system and the new roots will also be ‘fed’ by the rhizome until the first leaves can provide the energy for growth.
A plump, healthy green rhizome, as seen in the photo above, can handle this spring start-up easily, but a poor, dried-up rhizome will struggle, and that will be reflected in that first leaf.
Now we have to contend with virus as well, so those words of wisdom are truer than ever, and I would suggest that a rhizome showing a ‘dodgy’ first leaf should be quarantined immediately, given a dose of liquid fertiliser and kept away from other cannas and vegetables of the tomato family until you are satisfied that the plant is virus free.
If still suspect then destroy it immediately, as there is no known cure.😢😢😢
It is also a sad fact that packets of dry rhizomes nearly always have one of the canna viruses, and should be avoided. Buying a growing plant is always the safest as you can see the state of its health, although acquiring green rhizomes from virus-aware specialist growers carries much less risk.

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