Cannas: a great tropical-looking plant

Photo of Cannas

Cannas seem to grow everywhere in the South of France. Even, often close to the drainage ditches at the sides of the roads , probably because they do like water. They also like sun and grow into very tall, tropical looking plants.

Growing Cannas

The more common varieties have large green leaves and tall flower spikes with red flowers growing up the spike. But the flower colours include yellow and a pale pink and orange.

One of the best is Canna Wyoming which has purple veined leaves and bright orange flowers. Canna Durban also has purplish leaves and bright orange flowers. For an interesting striped green leaf Canna Striata is very good, this too has orange flowers. For red flowers set against dark purple leaves Canna indica 'Purpurea' is a winner.

Orange canna

For a great show go to the Eden Project in Cornwall where there is a long border of orange cannas with bronze leaves and in front of this a mass of deep blue agapanthus. Stunning!

Growing Guide for Canna

Cannas like sun. They also like water and a rich soil. Water them often and you will be rewarded by a really lush clump of tropical looking leaves topped by stunning jewel-bright flowers. A regular feed will also help.

They are tender and it is recommended to lift the rhizomes and store them in dry compost in a frost-free place over winter. However I leave mine in the ground and cover with a thick mulch of straw and they always survive the cold winters here.

To propogate lift the rhizomes in the spring (or use those already lifted for the winter) and divide the rhizome into several pieces making sure each piece has at least one eye or shoot. Pot up the pieces and keep warm and moist until you have a small plant big enough to plant out.

Slugs and snails seem to like the leaves but tend not to do too much damage.

Cannas can be grown in pots but make sure they are watered very regularly and apply a fertiliser once a month in the growing season.

Companion plants for Cannas

Cannas are great in tropical style gardens grown alongside bananas, agapanthus and crocosmia.

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