Fun Flower Facts: Canna

canna lilyCanna (or canna lily) is a tropical perennial plant that produces big, bold paddle-shaped leaves and bright, attractive flowers that grow on spikes in shades of red, orange, yellow and pink. They are valued for their beautiful foliage, as much as their flowers. Cannas are grown from rhizomes, bulbous structures that grow underground.

Cannas will grow to be 2-6 feet tall and about 3 feet wide.

The plant is sometimes called canna lily, but it is not a true lily. As members of the Zingiberales family, cannas are related to the gingers, bananas, heliconias and birds of paradise.

Cannas are joy to have in the garden! These bright, colourful flowers will liven up any summer garden! As well, the blooms are long lasting, hardy and low maintenance. The bright colours will also attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. They look best planted in masses in blocks of a single colour in front of a wall or hedge.

These summer-flowering bulbs are easy to grow from rhizomes in the springtime, but they can also be purchased as a plant over the summer.  As a tropical plant, it needs full sun and moist, rich soil for the best results. Water regularly. To keep soil moist, a thin layer of mulch is recommended. Taller varieties may need to be staked. Deadhead to encourage new blooms. When a flower spike produces no more buds, prune down to the next shoot, where a new flower spike should emerge. Lift and divide clumps every 3 years.

Dwarf cannas are also available for container gardening or other small places.

Climate Zones: 8-11

Fun Flower Facts about the Canna:

  • The rhizome is rich in edible starch and has many uses in agriculture.
  • The stems and foliage is used as cattle feed.
  • The young shoots are edible and can be eaten as a vegetable.
  • The seeds are sometimes added to tortillas.
  • The seeds can also be used as beads in jewellery.
  • The seeds can be used to obtain a purple dye.
  • In some remote parts of India, cannas are fermented to produce alcohol.
  • The fiber from the leaves is used to make a light brown paper.
  • In Thailand, cannas are a traditional Father’s Day gift.
  • In Vietnam, canna starch is used to make noodles.

About Connor Lowry

I love flowers! I enjoy writing about them as well as gardening. Mostly I love finding new and unique flower gardening ideas I encourage you to post regularly on this blog, and send in guest blogs or ideas for new blogs as well. New and exciting blogs are always welcome I intend to post a lot of interesting facts and fun stuff about flowers, as well as info on many varieties of flowers.
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10 Responses to Fun Flower Facts: Canna

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  2. laurs says:

    how do we hilighte this and who in the world could make these into there on words


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  7. Jeffry Hardy says:

    Plant rhizomes in the spring, after danger of frost has passed. If necessary, mix plenty of organic matter such as compost into the soil. Place rhizomes 3 to 4 inches deep and 1 to 3 feet apart. You can also start rhizomes in pots in February or March. Transplant them into the garden after danger of frost. These plants will flower earlier than those from rhizomes that are planted directly into the ground. Cannas thrive in high summer temperatures. Keep soil moist all season long. A thick layer of organic mulch helps conserve moisture and adds nutrients to the soil. For optimum growth, apply a nitrogen-rich, organic fertilizer once a month during the summer. Remove spent flowers to maintain their attractive appearance and promote additional blooms.


  8. Canna Cultivation.Cannas are very easy to grow. A rhizome started into growth in Winter/Spring in a cool greenhouse, and planted out when frosts are over will start to flower in mid-summer, and will continue to flower through summer and autumn, each stem producing a succession of flower spikes, with more stems coming from the base. They will continue to grow until cut down by the winter frosts. At the end of the growing season the initial rhizome will have multiplied, and each new rhizome will produce a flowering plant the next year. They have no serious pests in temperate climates. They grow best in full sun or dappled shade with some shelter, in a rich soil or compost. Cannas may be grown as outdoor bedding or centerpiece plants where they will happily co-exist with other vigorous plants and lend an exotic tropical touch to wherever they are grown. They may also be grown in outdoor pots and containers, but the smaller varieties are particularly suited to pot and patio cultivation, where they will begin to flower early while still quite short. They may also be grown as indoor conservatory plants, being protected from the weather they will make a spectacular display, producing leaves and flowers of exquisite perfection. However, being vigorous plants, they require plenty of overhead light.


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