Plant DetailShow Menu

Canna Lily Canna x generalis

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Canna Lily:

Previously known as:

  • Canna x hybrida
Phonetic Spelling
KAN-uh jen-er-RAL-liss
Description

Garden Canna is a herbaceous perennial and is most likely the hybrid of Canna indica and Canna glauca or Canna iridiflora. Currently, all Canna hybrids are included under the scientific name of Canna x generalis. The plants are very large and grow up to 6 feet tall. They will attract attention to any garden whether planted as an accent or in a mass planting. They have large colorful flowers and tropical appearing foliage. The foliage and flower color vary depending on the cultivar.

Garden Canna are hybrid plants found in tropical and subtropical regions of North and South America and India. The plant has been widely cultivated and has escaped old home sites. It can be found along roadsides, ponds, lakes, or streams.

The genus name, Canna, is from the Greek word "Kanna," which means reed-like.

Garden Canna prefers sunlight to light shade, soils with high organic matter, and slightly acidic pH. They grow best in moist, well-drained soils, but they can tolerate some standing water or drought once they are established. They have a high heat tolerance, but they are prone to wind damage. The rhizomes should be planted after the last spring frost. It is best to plant the rhizomes at least 5 inches deep and 12 inches apart.  Spent flowers should be removed to encourage continued flowering through the summer months. In warm climates, the rhizomes may be left in the ground over the winter. In areas where the plant is not winter hardy, the rhizomes should be lifted from the ground for winter storage. They should be stored in peat or vermiculite in a cool dry space. The plant may be propagated by seeds, rhizomes, and division. 

The plant has fleshy rhizomes. The stems are 3-6 feet tall, glabrous, unbranched, and enveloped by leaf sheaths. The leaf color ranges from green, bronze, or variegated, depending on the cultivar. The flowers are 4 to 8 inches long and appear on the ends of the stem as racemes or panicles. The flowers bloom during the summer months, from July to August. Depending on the cultivar, the flower colors ranged from white, cream, yellow, orange, pink, coral, salmon, red, or bicolored. The fruit is a capsule that contains seeds.

Their striking and brightly colored flowers make them an excellent choice for a border grouping, and their tropical feel works well in pool-side landscaping.  

Diseases, Pest, and Other Problems:

Japanese Beetles may feed on the young leaves and flower buds. Aster yellows cause dull yellowing of the leaves that eventually turn brown. The disease is spread by aphids. Slugs and snails may also chew on the leaves. The plant is susceptible to leaf-rolling caterpillars. Canna mosaic virus causes pale yellow stripes on the leaves. Leaf spot, rust, and bacterial blight may be also be found. The rhizomes will rot in poorly drained soils. 

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Edibles, Bulbs, and Houseplants" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

More information on Canna.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Corner Roadside Planting Border Garden- Pathway Floricyle
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Cannova Lemon'
    Green leaves, yellow flowers
  • 'Ermine'
    Creamy white flowers with pale yellow centers
  • 'Intrigue'
    Purple-gray foliage, orange-red flowers
  • 'Red Tiger'
    Creamy-yellow and green foliage, cherry red flowers
  • 'White Tiger'
    Striped foliage, creamy-white flowers
'Cannova Lemon', 'Ermine', 'Intrigue', 'Red Tiger', 'White Tiger'
Tags:
#cultivars#perennials#colorful leaves#summer flowers#rhizomatous#poolside planting#pollinator plant#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#container plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Cannova Lemon'
    Green leaves, yellow flowers
  • 'Ermine'
    Creamy white flowers with pale yellow centers
  • 'Intrigue'
    Purple-gray foliage, orange-red flowers
  • 'Red Tiger'
    Creamy-yellow and green foliage, cherry red flowers
  • 'White Tiger'
    Striped foliage, creamy-white flowers
'Cannova Lemon', 'Ermine', 'Intrigue', 'Red Tiger', 'White Tiger'
Tags:
#cultivars#perennials#colorful leaves#summer flowers#rhizomatous#poolside planting#pollinator plant#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#container plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Canna
    Species:
    generalis
    Family:
    Cannaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Native to tropics and subtropics from FL, South America, & India
    Distribution:
    Tropical and subtropical areas of North America, South America, and India
    Wildlife Value:
    The Garden Canna is the larval host of the Brazilian skipper.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Colorful
    Screening
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Bulb Storage:
    Store the rhizomes in a cool dry area.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Green
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is an ellipsoid or globose greenish capsule that is covered with soft spines. The capsule contains a large number of hard seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    Variegated
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Raceme
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Lipped
    Flower Petals:
    2-3 rays/petals
    Colored Sepals
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    The flowers are large, measuring 4-8 inches long, and occur as terminal racemes or panicles. Each flower has 3 sepals and 3 petals. There is one petal-like stamen and 3-4 petal-like staminodes. The style is pedal-like, and the ovary is warty and spiny. The flowers bloom in different colors depending on the cultivar. They include blooms of white, ivory, yellow, orange, pink, coral, salmon, red, or variegated.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Variegated
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Sheath
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are glabrous, ovate, green, and measure 18 to 36 inches long. They have a coarse texture. Some cultivars have colorful variegated leaves.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    The stems are multi-trunked or clumping.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Patio
    Pond
    Pool/Hardscape
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Screen/Privacy
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bats
    Bees
    Hummingbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Heat