Canna Plant- Care and Growing Guide

Canna Plant- Care and Growing Guide

The Canna plant or the Canna lily is another of the Lily plant varieties that can easily brighten up any space. Scientifically referred to as the Canna, this plant is a member of the Cannaceae plant family, native to Central America, Mexico, West Indies, South and Southeastern America.

A tropical plant, the Canna lily is mostly known for its beautiful Canna flowers. The plant also has some long wide leaves, much like those of the banana plants. These leaves of the Canna plant sport bronze, green or other multi-coloured patterns. Most of the Canna lily varieties grow up to around 6 or 8 feet in height.

What Do Canna Flowers Look Like

The Canna lily flowers are a rather beautiful sight. The various Canna lily varieties produce Canna flowers in different colours such as cream, orange, pink, red, white, yellow, etc. These flowers are rather flashy and shaped somewhat like paddles. These Canna flowers generally bloom from the late spring season and until the early summer season.

An important trick to encourage blooms in the Canna lily plant is to deadhead Canna lily flowers once they start to fade away. This deadheading is essential to make way for a new batch of flowers to bloom.

Canna Lily Seeds/ Canna Lily Bulbs

Even though Canna lily seeds can be used to grow a Canna plant, it is not the most common way of growing the plant. Instead, the Canna lily bulbs are a more popular way of growing the Canna lily plant. However, Even though these structures are referred to as bulbs, aren’t true bulbs, but are rhizomes.

Unlike the true bulbs, rhizomes are more like fattened extensions of the stalks of the Canna lily plant. These rhizomes encourage the spread of the Canna lily plant from beneath the soil as they are known to multiply. Rhizomes are an easier way to grow a Canna lily plant.

How to Plant Canna Bulbs/ Rhizomes

One can easily use a container to sow the Canna lily bulbs. Just fill the container with some good quality potting mix and insert the Canna lily bulbs 4 to 6 inches deep in the soil. There must be a gap of around 18 to 24 inches between each two consecutive lily bulbs that get planted in the soil. Planting them in such a system allows the Canna plant quite some space to grow.

The soil in which the plant is growing should be a good quality well-draining soil. The inclusion of organic matter in the soil mix further helps to boost the growth of the Canna lily plant. For best results, the soil chosen should be slightly acidic, maintaining a pH level of around 6 to 6.5.

Replanting Canna Bulbs/ Rhizomes

The Canna rhizomes need to be replanted once they start sprouting leaves. This sprouting of the leaves is an indication that the bulb has developed a sturdy root system.

Here is a guide to how you can replant the Canna bulbs.

  • Start with choosing an appropriate container for the plant. An appropriate container measures just around 16 inches in diameter and has enough drainage holes to flush out the excess water from the soil.
  • In the previous container, loosen the soil and gently pull out the already-sprouting Canna lily bulb from the previous container.
  • Layer the bottom of the new planter with some gravel and pebbles to further boost the drainage of the excess water.
  • Then, fill around one-third of the new planter with some good quality and well-draining potting soil. You can also add some compost to aid in the fertilization of the plant.
  • Gently lower the plant into the pot, and layer it with some more potting soil, ensuring that the roots of the plant are completely covered.
  •  Water the plant and move it to a desired spot in the house.

Canna Plant Care

The Canna lily plant loves the full sun. It can also very well survive in partially-shaded regions. But the leaves and the Canna lily flowers tend to grow better and at a faster face when exposed to the bright sunlight.

The watering needs of the plant are a little extra, in comparison to other general houseplants but it can very well be adhered to. The Canna lily requires watering around once or twice a week as the plant prefers its soil to maintain a moist consistency. However, refrain from turning the soil soggy as it can lead to root rot.

Average temperature levels must be maintained to favour the growth of Canna lilies. The plant cannot survive too much of a cold temperature. The ideal temperature range for growing a Canna lily is around 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Under no circumstance should the plant be exposed to a temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is also essential to maintain warm and humid conditions for the healthy growth of the plant as it is native to tropical regions. However, if you live in a drier region, you can take to regularly misting the plant. Another trick to increase humidity is to place a tray filled with water below the Canna lily pot, ensuring that the water is not in contact with the bottom of the planter.

When it comes to fertilizing Canna lilies, keep in mind that they are rather heavy feeders. An ideal fertilizer for the Canna lily is rich in organic matter. This means that even compost can be used as a fertilizer for the plant. During the growing period of the plant, that is the spring and summer seasons, the Canna lily plant should be fertilized around once a month. Fertilization should be completely avoided during the winter season.

The Canna lily is not very winter hardy. Thus, as winter approaches, the Canna lily plants should be shifted inside the house. If shifting is not possible, the Canna lily rhizomes of the plant should carefully be extracted, after cutting back the plant to the ground, and stored in a location that maintains a temperature above 40 degrees Fahrenheit until the winters come to an end. These stored rhizomes should be occasionally sprayed with water to prevent them from drying off, but they should also not be consistently kept on a dampened surface as well.

Canna Lily Varieties

There are several varieties of the Canna lily plant and even the variegated Canna. Here we have listed down some of the most popular and common Canna lily varieties.

Canna Indica Plant/ Indian Shot Plant/ Red Canna Lily

The Canna Indica plant or the Indian Shot plant is known for being the first Canna plant that was introduced to Europe. Native to America, the Canna Indica plant is also commonly known by its Latin American name Achira. Popular for thousands of years in America now, The Canna Indica plant is one of the very first domesticated plants in the country. Another highlight about the Canna Indica plant is that the roots of this plant are edible.

Orange Canna Lily

The Orange Canna lily is popularly referred to as the Canna Orange Beauty. The flower of Canna Orange Beauty is rather large in comparison to the other varieties. These flowers are orange in colour, with golden-yellow streaks running through the flute-like petals. The Orange Canna lily plants bloom from the midsummer season and until the fall. The Orange Canna lily plant can grow around 4 to 6 feet tall.

Purple Canna Lily

The Purple Canna lily is better known as the Canna Indica Purpurea. The foliage is bronze-brown. The blooms of the Purple Canna lily are orangey-red and bloom from around the midsummer season and until the fall. The Purple Canna lily is a popular ornamental plant and can grow around 4 to 7 feet tall.

Tropicanna Canna Lily

The Tropicanna Canna lily, or the Canna Tropicanna, is very much like a taller version of the Canna lily plant. The Tropicanna Canna lily is mostly known for its beautiful bronze foliage and tangerine blooms. The blooms of the Canna Tropicanna are very similar to the irises. Growing up to a height of around 48 to 76 inches in height, the Tropicanna Canna lily can easily make up for a statement piece in any garden and even indoor settings.

White Canna Lily

The beautiful White Canna lily is more popularly known as the Canna Ambassadour or the Canna Lily Ambassadour. It is one of the very first flowering varieties of the Canna lily plant that was discovered to produce white flowers. The flowers of the White Canna Lily are creamy-white, with a pale salmon pink lining towards the throats of the blooms. These flowers then progress to don a pure ivory colour as they start to fade away.

Yellow Cannas

The Yellow Canna Lily or the Canna Cannova Yellow is also known as the Indian Shot Cannova Yellow. These yellow Cannas are mostly known for having a longer blooming period in comparison to the other Canna plant varieties. The Canna Cannova Yellow blooms from around the early spring seasons and very well until the winter season starts to set in. The Yellow Cannas grow up to a height of around 30 to 48 inches.

What to Plant with Canna Lilies

We will all agree that plants look better when paired with other plants, instead of just placing them alone. It is the same for the Canna lilies. The plant tends to look better when paired with other different plants.

Canna lilies look great when paired with plants that have fine-textured leaves, such as ornamental grass or ferns. One can also plant Canna lilies with annuals with fine-textured leaves, such as the asparagus fern.

Canna Plants for Sale

The Canna plants are often available at a rather affordable price. They can easily be bought from local nurseries or through different sites online. One can easily purchase a Canna plant online as various sites often display Canna plants for sale.


Here we have answered some FAQS to help you know more about Canna lilies.

Do canna lilies come back every year?

Canna lilies are perennial. If taken the right care, they can come back every year. Just make sure that you deadhead the flowers once they start to fade away. This encourages the bloom of the next batch of flowers in the plant.

Do canna flowers spread?

Yes, they do. The Canna lily consists of rhizomes below the soil. These rhizomes are like the fattened extension of the stalks and multiply quite rapidly.

How long do canna flowers last?

The Canna lily plants flowers from around the spring season and until the fall. However, the flowers must be deadheaded once they start fading away. This is necessary to encourage further blooms.

How do you take care of cannas?

To take care of Cannas, place them in some bright sunlight. Water the plant around twice a week to maintain a moist consistency of the soil. Maintain a temperature between 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

When should I cut my canna flowers down for the year?

The Canna plant needs to be cut down once the frost sets in. The Canna plants are not winter-hardy. It is thus suggested that if you can’t shift them indoors the plants should be cut down and the rhizomes should be stored under suitable temperatures for planting later.

What size pot would be ideal for a 'Wyoming' canna lily?

An ideal pot is neither too large nor too small for the plant. For the Wyoming Canna lily, a pot that is around 16 inches in diameter is suitable to support the sturdy growth of the plant.

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