Cannas are tropical and subtropical flowering plants with large, banana like leaves. They can be grown as annuals in cooler regions, where they add an instant touch of the tropics to gardens. A surge in interest and hybridizing has resulted in a dazzling array of cannas to choose from.
Common Name(s): Canna, Indian Shot
8 - 11
2 ½ - 10' H, 20 - 24" W
Repeat blooms throughout summer, throughout the year in zones 9 and above. Will bloom first year, from seed.
Cannas are often grown from their foliage alone. The large, paddle-like leaves resemble banana leaves and come in greens, blue-greens, variegations and stripes. Much hybridizing has been done to create more attractive flowers. Somewhat tubular and lily like, Canna flowers come in shades and combinations of yellow, orange, red and pink and are borne on tall stalks coming out of the foliage.
Becausemost Cannas sold today are the result of many crosses, Cannas are rarely classified.
Cannas can’t help but be focal points. A single specimen can anchor a circle bed. Planted in a mass, they can look both tropical and Victorian. The colors and tropical feel combine well with other ‘hot’ colors.
- Canna. 'Lucifer' - red flowers with yellow borders, green leaves, 2' tall.
- Canna 'The President' - scarlet blossoms, green leaves, 3 - 3 ½' tall.
- Canna 'Pretoria' ('Bengal Tiger') - orange flowers, yellow and green striped foliage, 4 - 6' tall.
- Canna - 'Stuttgart' - orange flowers, green and white variegated foliage, 3 - 4' tall.
Prefers rich, moist soil and full sun. Generally grown from rhizomes. Plant rhizomes 4-5 inches deep, after all danger of frost, or start indoors in pots. Keep the rhizomes moist, but not wet. Emerged plants can receive more water. Can also be grown in poorly drained areas and in shallow ponds.
Maintenance: Plants should be deadheaded for continual bloom. Cannas like to be fed. Fertilize in early spring and mid-summer. In zones 7 and below, rhizomes can be overwintered. Allow foliage to be killed by a frost. Dig plants, leaving soil attached to rhizomes. Allow to dry, then pack in plastic bags with some moisture. Keep in a cool location for the winter. Potted cannas can be brought inside and treated as houseplants.
Not often bothered by problems. Canna leaves are covered with a waxy substance, so water is repelled and fungus doesn't usually take hold. Grasshoppers and caterpillars may munch the leaves. Water stress will cause tearing or cracking in the leaves.