- Phonetic Spelling
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:
- Cultivars / Varieties:
- Life Cycle:
- Recommended Propagation Strategy:
- 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.
- Height: 1 ft. 6 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
- Width: 1 ft. 6 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
Whole Plant Traits:
- Plant Type:
- 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
- Loam (Silt)
- Soil Drainage:
- Good Drainage
- Available Space To Plant:
- 12 inches-3 feet
- NC Region:
- Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
- 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b
- Fruit Type:
- Fruit Description:
- A 3-valved, prickly capsule.
- Flower Color:
- Flower Inflorescence:
- Flower Value To Gardener:
- Flower Bloom Time:
- 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.
- Leaf Color:
- Leaf Value To Gardener:
- Leaf Type:
- Leaf Arrangement:
- Leaf Shape:
- Leaf Margin:
- Hairs Present:
- 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 Color:
- Stem Is Aromatic:
- Stem Description:
- Erect, 1-5' tall, often reddish-purple.
- Landscape Location:
- Landscape Theme:
- Rain Garden
- Water Garden
- Resistance To Challenges:
- Poor Soil