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Canna is often confused with:
Aspidistra elatior Aspidistra elatior
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Lantana camara Lantana camara flower
Kalanchoe
Amaranthus tricolor Amaranthus tricolor
Canna has some other problems:
Winter Injury

Canna

Phonetic Spelling
KAN-nah
Description

Cannas, or Arrowroot, is a tall, leafy, tropical plant with gladiolus-like flower spikes that bloom atop erect stems sheathed in large paddle-shaped leaves. Despite the common name, Canna Lily, it is not a lily. The Canna genus includes about 10 species with numerous cultivars. Commercial growers typically sell Canna plant cultivars that range from 1.5 feet tall to 8 feet tall with flower colors that include red, orange, pink, yellow, cream and some bi-colors. The foliage colors can also vary from shades of green or bronze to striped/variegated and provide ornamental value when plants are not in flower.

Cannas can be a challenge to grow. They do best in moist, organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun. However, rhizomes may rot in poorly drained wet soils. In USDA zones 7 through 10, you can leave rhizomes in the ground; however in zones 5b and 6a, you should dig up the rhizomes in fall and store the bulbs over winter. The plants will sustain injury if left in the ground at temperatures below 25 degrees F. Cut the plants to the ground immediately after the first frost and lift the rhizome clumps for winter storage in a dry medium such as peat or vermiculite and store in a cool dry location than does not fall below 40 degrees F. In the spring, you can return the rhizomes to the ground, placing them 4 to 6 inches deep after threat of frost has passed. After the blooms have faded in late summer, remove the flowering stems. If you grow the plant in containers, stored them in their containers over winter. As finicky as the plant sounds, it does tolerate drought and poor soil, but prefers a rich, well-drained soil with abundant water and a site that gets full sun in the morning. 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Aster yellows. Japanese beetles, caterpillars, slugs and snails have been known to chew on the foliage.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Tall erect herb with giant, sheathing leaves
  • Terminal racemes with large carotenoid flowers
  • Fruits a prickly 3-valved capsule.

Gigantic erect, succulent herb.

utilized in massing, background plants in beds, center plant in smaller beds, container plants, highway color in beds by DOT; rhizomes need to be dug up and stored overwinter in colder climates; numerous cultivars, including dwarfs. 

GLADIOLUS GROUP - staminodes broad, overlapping, flower appearing more full; more popular selections. 

ORCHID GROUP - staminodes narrow, segregated, flower appearing smaller & more exotic. 

Prefers full sun in rich fertile soils; intolerant of killing frosts; numerous pest & disease problems.

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#red#tropical#pink#sun#showy flowers#yellow#water garden#rain garden#drought tolerant#orange#perennial bulb#showy leaves#large leaves#stream banks#herbaceous#large flowers#summer bulbs#groundcover#pool#ccp#fantz#poor soils tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#red#tropical#pink#sun#showy flowers#yellow#water garden#rain garden#drought tolerant#orange#perennial bulb#showy leaves#large leaves#stream banks#herbaceous#large flowers#summer bulbs#groundcover#pool#ccp#fantz#poor soils tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Canna
    Family:
    Cannaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Bulb
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Tropical east and west Africa
    Wildlife Value:
    Host plant for Brazilian Skipper catapillar and moth.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Tolerates drought and poor soil
    Bulb Storage:
    For Zones 6 & 7, harvest rhizomes in fall, dry, and store in dry peat or vermiculite at 41-50 degrees F (5-10 degrees C). Mulch in Zone 8.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 6 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 6 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Bulb
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • 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:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    A 3-valved, prickly capsule.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    2-3 rays/petals
    Colored Sepals
    Flower Description:
    Gladiolus-like flowers that bloom atop erect stems sheathed in large paddle-shaped leaves. Available in many colors: rose, pink, red, yellow, orange, salmon, and bicolored. Terminal, bracteated, raceme. Asymmetrical, bold carotenoid pigments of red to orange to yellow; sepals 3, short. petals 3, narrow, united into a basal tube; staminodes 4, three broadly obovate overtopping petals, showy, one with remenant of anther sac or minute lobe; stamens 1, petaloid with soitary marginal anther.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Variegated
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Lanceolate
    Pinnatifid
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are large, broad, pinnately nerved, with a distinct midrib. Alternate, simple, sheathing, 2-ranked, gigantic, to 2' long x 4-12" wide, green to reddish-purple, or yellowish variegated; blade broad elliptic to lanceolate, acute, broad cuneate to round, entire. Foliage colors vary from shades of green or bronze to striped/variegated and provide ornamental value when plants are not in flower.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Erect, 1-5' tall, often reddish-purple.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Pond
    Pool/Hardscape
    Riparian
    Landscape Theme:
    Rain Garden
    Water Garden
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Poor Soil
    Salt