How to Grow Cannas: The Beautiful Subtropical and Tropical Flower

Canna Lily

Cannas (Canna spp.), a beautiful, simple-to-grow subtropical and tropical flower, come in a variety of colors, including pink, red, orange, yellow, and cream. Hummingbirds are attracted to the genus’ flowers.

The canna plant has broad, long leaves with a bronze, green or multicolored pattern that resemble banana leaves.

Cannas typically reach heights of six feet or even eight feet. Although many people mistakenly think of cannas as bulbs they aren’t.

These plants are said to come from rhizomes which are modified stems that store nutrients and later give rise to shoots.

Common Name Canna lily, canna, arrowroot
Botanical Name Canna × generalis
Family Cannaceae
Plant Type Annual, perennial, rhizome
Mature Size 1.5-10 ft. tall, 1.5-6 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Full
Soil Type Moist
Soil pH Acidic, neutral
Bloom Time Summer
Flower Color Yellow, orange, red, pink
Hardiness Zones 6a-10a (USDA)
Native Area Caribbean, East and West Africa, Central and South America

Tips for Keeping Your Plants Healthy

  • Cannas are easy to grow and require little maintenance, but there are a few things you can do to keep your plants healthy and looking their best.
  • Here are a few tips: Fertilize cannas every two to four weeks with a balanced fertilizer during the growing season.
  • Water cannas deeply and regularly during the growing season, especially if they’re grown in containers. Allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering.-In colder climates, lift rhizomes in late fall and store them indoors over winter.
  • Replant them in spring after all danger of frost has passed.-Pruning isn’t necessary, but you can cut back plants by about one-third after flowering.

Lighting and Temperature

Cannas grow best in full sun, but they will tolerate partial shade. In hot climates, afternoon shade is appreciated.

Cannas are tropical plants and prefer warm temperatures. They will not tolerate frost and should be grown as annuals in cold climates. The ideal temperature range for cannas is 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit.


Cannas prefer rich, moist soil that is well-draining. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, mix in some organic matter to improve drainage. Add a layer of mulch around the base of plants to help retain moisture.


Cannas are heavy feeders and will benefit from regular fertilization. Fertilize every two to four weeks with a balanced fertilizer during the growing season.

You can also use a slow-release fertilizer at the beginning of the season.


Pruning isn’t necessary, but you can cut back plants by about one-third after flowering. This will encourage new growth and may result in a second flush of blooms.


Cannas need regular watering, especially if they’re grown in containers. Water deeply and allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering. In hot weather, you may need to water daily.


Cannas can reach heights of six feet or even eight feet.

They typically have a clumping growth habit, but some varieties may spread via underground rhizomes.


Cannas produce showy, trumpet-shaped flowers that come in a variety of colors, including pink, red, orange, yellow, and cream. The flowers are borne on tall stalks and bloom from summer to fall.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Slugs, snails, and Japanese beetles are all common pests that enjoy chewing on canna blooms and foliage.

However, of all the insects that attack cannas, the canna leaf roller caterpillar is the most harmful.

The canna leaf roller moth lays its eggs in the buds of developing stalks, and when the eggs hatch, the caterpillars form sticky webbing that prevents the leaves from unfurling.

If you suspect that your plants are infested with pests, remove any leaves that are unable to unfurl and consider spraying the plants with insecticide soap.

Cannas are also susceptible to a variety of other health problems, including aster yellows, canna mosaic virus, and rust fungus. Look for leaves that are weak and browned.

It is frequently possible to get rid of plants that have been infected with rust fungus. However, you must ensure that all infected plant material is removed and destroyed to prevent the fungus from spreading.

Propagating Cannas

Rhizomes are thick, horizontal roots that some plants, such as cannas, grow. Rhizomes store nutrients and moisture, allowing the plant to propagate and survive in different conditions.

If you want to propagate your own cannas, it is a relatively easy process that can be done in the autumn or early spring.

First, you will need to dig up the entire plant, being careful not to damage the rhizomes or roots.

Next, use sharp pruning tools to remove all of the leaves from the stem, leaving only an inch at the top.

Once you have cleared the rhizomes of any dirt, you will need to identify where the old and new rhizomes converge. You will then need to cut each rhizome at this joint, making sure that each one has eyes.

If you are dividing in the fall, you can save the rhizomes for winter and plant them in the spring.

Otherwise, you can insert each rhizome into prepared soil at a depth of four inches. By following these steps, you can easily propagate your own cannas.

Types of Canna

Canna plants are popular for their showy flowers and attractive leaves. There are many different cultivars available, each with its own unique coloration and growth habits.

Some of the most popular varieties include “Red King Humbert,” “Yellow King Hubert,” and “Shenandoah.” “Red King Humbert” is one of the oldest cultivars, and it produces large blooms that range in color from reddish-orange to reddish-red.

“Yellow King Hubert” is another old variety, and it features bicolor yellow flowers with orange accents. “Shenandoah” is a newer cultivar that features beautiful deep pink blossoms and olive-green leaves with a tinge of bronze.

For something truly unique, look for “Tropicanna,” which has leaves with pink, gold, burgundy, and green stripes and orange flowers. Whatever your preference, there is sure to be a canna variety that will suit your taste.

Can canna lilies be planted in the ground?

Canna lilies are a type of flowering plant that can add a touch of tropical flair to any garden. Though they are often grown in containers, canna lilies can also be planted directly in the ground.

When choosing a spot to plant, look for an area that receives full sun and has well-drained soil.

Canna lilies should be spaced about two feet apart, and the rhizomes should be planted with the buds pointing upward. Once planted, water the area thoroughly and keep the soil moist until new growth appears.

With proper care, canna lilies will bloom from summer to fall, adding color and life to your garden for months to come.

How do you get canna lilies to rebloom?

Canna lilies are best known for their large, showy flowers that bloom from summer to fall. While these beautiful plants are relatively easy to care for, they can sometimes be reluctant to rebloom.

Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to encourage your canna lilies to put on another show. First, make sure the plants are getting plenty of sun. They will also benefit from a regular feeding with a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen.

Finally, be sure to deadhead the spent blooms promptly to encourage the plant to produce even more flowers. With a little bit of extra care, you can enjoy canna lilies in bloom all season long.

How many times does a canna lily bloom?

They are extremely easy to cultivate and pollinators will love them as well. They will bring a lot of joy to you as they bloom for 3-4 months throughout the year and easily reproduce after a few years.

If you reside in colder climates, just remove the rhizomes, and then store them away for the winter months.

Where do canna lilies grow best?

Canna Lilies are a beautiful and popular flower that originated in South America. These tropical plants can add a touch of the exotic to any garden, and they are relatively easy to care for. Canna Lilies prefer moist, rich soil and full sun or light shade.

They can grow up to 2.5m in height, making them ideal for the middle or back of a border.

Even when they are not in bloom, the impressive foliage of Canna Lilies provides an ideal backdrop for other flowers. With their striking blooms and lush leaves, Canna Lilies are a welcome addition to any garden.

Do you canna lilies come back every year?

Canna lilies are a perennial flower that can bloom every year in specific growing zones. Cannas are considered to be winter hardy in zones 7 to 10. Most of the time the cannas will re-grow in spring and summer of each year in these zones.

However, in some cases the plants may not come back. This can be due to several reasons, such as extreme cold or disease. Therefore, it is important to take care of your cannas and provide them with the proper conditions if you want them to bloom year after year.

With a little bit of planning and effort, you can enjoy the beauty of these flowers for many years to come.

How do you keep canna lilies looking good?

Gardeners must make sure they have lots of organic fertilizer or compost to ensure that their plants look at their best. Cannas are especially susceptible to nutrient deficiencies, so it’s important to keep them well-fed.

In the absence of adequate fertility or moisture, Cannas can become quite dried out and ragged-looking.

If your Canna Lily plant appears a bit worn in summer, that’s the most obvious sign that an additional shovel of manure is needed. Keeping Cannas adequately watered is also important for preventing them from looking stressed and dried out.

Furthermore, deadheading spent flowers will encourage the plant to produce more blooms. With a little care and attention, it’s easy to keep Cannas looking healthy and vibrant all season long.

How do you keep canna lilies blooming?

Canna lilies are a type of flowering plant that can add a touch of tropical beauty to any garden. While they are relatively easy to care for, there are a few things you can do to encourage continuous blooming.

First, be sure to cut back the flower stalks when the flowers begin to fade. This will encourage the plant to put its energy into producing new flowers. Additionally, keep an eye on the foliage, as it can sometimes inhibit flower production.

If the leaves seem to be crowding out the flowers, trim them back slightly to allow more light and air circulation to reach the buds. With a little care, you can keep your canna lilies blooming all season long!

Do you cut back canna lilies?

As with any plant, it is important to carefully consider the needs of canna lilies before making any decisions about trimming or cutting them back. These tropical plants are known for their large, colorful leaves, and they can add a touch of elegance to any garden.

However, like all plants, canna lilies need regular care and maintenance to stay healthy. While it is not necessary to cut back canna lilies every year, doing so can help to encourage new growth and prevent the plant from becoming overgrown.

When cutting back canna lilies, it is important to use sharp pruning shears and to make clean cuts. Be sure to remove any dead or damaged leaves, and cut the stems back to about 6 inches above the ground.

With proper care, canna lilies will add beauty and grace to your garden for many years to come.

Do canna lilies grow better in pots or in the ground?

There are benefits to potting a canna lily as opposed to planting it in the ground. For one, a canna lily grown in a pot has the potential to grow larger than one grown in the ground because it has more room to expand its roots.

Additionally, potting a canna lily allows you to control the plant’s environment more easily, which can result in more blooms. When potting a canna lily, be sure to use a large container made from clay or ceramic material.

And if you live in an area with cold winters, you can simply move your potted canna lilies indoors to protect them from the cold.

Where does canna grow?

Cannas are tropical plants that can add a touch of the exotic to any garden. They originated in the West Indies and South America, and they are prized for their large, colorful leaves and tall flower stalks. Cannas come in a wide range of colors, including red, orange, yellow, and pink.

Some varieties also have variegated leaves that are striped with multiple colors. If you live in a warm climate, you can plant cannas outdoors in the ground.

Otherwise, they can be grown in containers that can be brought indoors during the winter months.

With proper care, cannas will thrive and provide you with years of enjoyment.

Jessica Miles

Jessica Miles is a writer for Botanique Boutique, a plant and gardening blog. She has always loved plants, flowers, and anything green. When she was younger, she used to watch her grandfather garden and would be in awe of the beautiful flowers he would grow. Now Jessica writes about all things related to plants and gardening - from beginner tips on how to start growing your own plants, to in-depth guides on caring for a specific type of flower or plant. She loves helping others learn about this fascinating hobby, and hopes that her writing will inspire people to get outside and enjoy nature!

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