As you clean up your summer gardens, a word of advice:  Cart canna leaves, stems and mulch to the curb, not the compost pile.   

If you compost this heat loving, classic southern plant, you’re inviting canna leaf rollers.  And once you get an infestation of these pesky caterpillars, you’re in for one heck of a  fight.

Virginia gardener Pamela Harper describes the battle in her book “Time-Tested Plants: Thirty Years in a 4 Season Garden”.  (A great book for Southern gardeners, by the way)

To get rid of leaf rollers, Pamela dug out and trashed all her cannas in plastic bags except for one tuber.  The tuber was cleaned well, then grown in sterile soil.  She basically had to start all over again. 

I got my leaf roller problem under control a few years with a some advice and two doses of a garden chemical recommended by  George at  Durham’s Stone Brothers and Byrd. 

But I hate to use any  chemicals in the garden–In fact, I  DON”T use any chemicals in the garden now that I have  four-legged helper Tralee Ramsey (with dirty nose below). 

So I control canna leaf roller with a good fall clean up–cutting and carting off spent leaves: raking old mulch off and away–

But it’s worth the trouble.  Cannas are wonderful plants  for Southern Gardens.  Their huge, colorful leaves are  very cool in more ways than one.

Here’s Bengal Tiger in my garden (October this year).  It’s a plant everyone should grow. 

More advice about pests?  Please weigh in–especially if you have a favorite non-toxic control.