Growing Guide
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Canna Lily

Summer and Fall-Flowering Bulb, Annual Flower

Canna sp.
Cannaceae Family

Cana Lilies have large leaves that resemble those of banana plants, and tall spikes of showy flowers, that bring a tropical feel to the summer garden. The tender bulbs must be dug and stored over winter.

Site Characteristics
  • full sun

Soil conditions:

  • requires well-drained soil
Prefer fertile, moist but well-drained soil.
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: annual

Tropical perennial (hardy in Zone 8) grown as an annual.

Ease-of-care: moderately difficult

Height: 3 to 8 feet

Some dwarfs grow just 2 feet tall.

Spread: 1.5 to 2.5 feet

Bloom time:

  • mid-summer
  • late summer
  • early fall

Flower color:

  • red
  • orange
  • yellow
  • pink

Foliage color:

  • light green
  • medium green
  • dark green
  • purple
  • gray-green
  • blue-green
  • variegated

Leaves may be any shade of green, or flushed with purple, bronze or brown, or striped and marked with yellow, cream, orange or red.

Foliage texture: coarse

Leaves are large and bold.

Shape: upright

Shape in flower: flower stalks with upright spikes

Blooms borne in a raceme at the top of the plant stem.

Special Considerations
Special characteristics:
  • non-aggressive
  • non-invasive
  • not native to North America - Product of horticultural selection. Parents native to tropical areas of Asia and the Americas.
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by division or separation - Divide the rhizomes when planting after danger of frost has passed in spring. Each segment should have a strong, healthy "eye."

For earlier flowering, plant the rhizomes indoors in trays of peat moss in early spring. When the plants sprout, move them to individual pots, keeping them indoors in full sun until all frost danger has passed. Plant them out in the garden where desired.

Maintenance and care:
Keep watered but not soggy. Plants fo not usually require staking. Keep deadheaded for best blooms. Cut the plants back after the first large fall frost, dig them, and bring them indoors. Store them with their soil in a well-ventilated area for the winter. In dry storage, place the soil covered rhizomes in peat moss for overwintering.

More growing information: How to Grow Annuals

More growing information: How to Grow Bulbs

Slugs and snails
Spider mites
Fungal leaf spot
Bacterial blight
Bean yellow mosaic virus
Tomato spotted wilt virus
'Assault': 6' tall plants with purple-flushed leaves and bright orange-red blooms.

'Black Knight': 6' tall plants with bronze foliage and deep-red, almost black blooms.

'Durban': 4 to 5' tall plants with vivid red-orange blooms and bronze leaves striped with yellow, red and orange.

'Endeavor': 5 to 7' tall plants with blue-tinted leaves and bright red blooms.

'Grand Opera Series': 5 to 6' tall plants with peach, pink or rose blooms.

'King Humbert': 7 to 8' tall plants with purple/bronze flushed leaves and bright red blooms. Syn. Canna 'Roi Humbert', Canna 'Red King Humbert'.

'King Midas': 5' tall plants with deep-green leaves and orange-flushed golden blooms.

'Pfitzer's Chinese Coral': 3' tall plants with coral blooms and gray-green leaves.

'President': 4' tall plants with bright red blooms and blue-green foliage.

'Pretoria': 6' tall plants with orange blooms and showy cream-striped green leaves.

'Rosemond Coles': 5' tall plants with yellow-margined bright red blooms with yellow throat markings.

'Striata': 5' tall plants with orange blooms and yellow-veined yellow-green foliage on red stems.

'Stuttgart': 5 to 7' tall plants with deep green, gray-green and cream-marked or cream-striped green leaves. The blooms have green-striped pink sepals and orange-yellow petals flushed with reddish orange.

'Tropical Rose': 2' tall plants with rosy pink blooms.

'TyTy Red': 6' tall plants with orange-red blooms and bronze-purple tinted foliage.

'Wyoming': 6' tall plants with ruffled, peach-feathered orange blooms with reddish orange margins. The foliage is purple-brown.

'Yellow King Humbert': 3 to 4' tall plants with bright yellow blooms spotted with red.