By the 1980’s virtually all canna lily bulbs sold in the US were infected with between one and four different canna viruses. These canna viruses reduced the vigor of the canna plant and showed up as an unattractive streaking in both the canna leaves and flowers. If the canna plant was growing vigorously in ideal conditions, the virus might be virtually unnoticeable, but when the conditions were less than favorable or the temperatures a bit cool, the virus symptoms were very evident.
In the early 2000s, Plant Delights Nursery persuaded a tissue culture lab to produce canna lily bulbs under sterile laboratory conditions and, in doing so, eliminate the viruses. This had been done for many food crops, but rarely for a low price crop like canna plants. Producing canna bulbs this way was a huge gamble for the laboratory because they were unsure anyone would pay the extra cost to buy high quality, virus-free canna bulbs for sale. The result, however, was a smashing success and today an ever-growing percentage of the canna lily bulbs for sale are produced from tissue culture and not from field-grown, virus-infected canna bulbs (rhizomes).
So, how do you tell if you are buying virus-infected canna lily bulbs or healthy tissue-cultured canna plants? Honestly, there is no good way, other than by buying from a reputable canna plant dealer, but price is always a key. If the price of your canna bulbs seems inexpensive, that’s a pretty good indication you are buying virused canna plants. Also, most virus-free canna plants are sold as growing plants and not as dormant canna bulbs (rhizomes). When you’re ready to buy high quality canna lily bulbs for sale, we hope you’ll check out our online selection from Plant Delights Nursery.