Plant Profile: Canna

posted in: Plant Profiles, Seeds | 0

Canna or Canna Lily is the common name attached to a large group of hybrid plants in the genus Canna, in the family Cannaceae.  Canna is a Latin word meaning a type of read.  This is a wonderful plant to grow in many different varieties.  In my Canadian zone 5 b garden canna is an annual.

Canna are great for attracting butterflies, hummingbirds and wildlife into the garden.

Varieties – red is Robert Kemp, yellow is Richard Wallace, orange is Petroria or Bengal Tiger


The varying colours and patterns on the leaves add lots of interest to your garden.

Watch out for the leafroller caterpillar (will be a skipper butterfly) that will attack canna.

ccanna root at

Here is a piece of root with the new shoot already growing.  Do not plant outside till after all chance of frost has passed.  You can pot them up inside a few weeks before planting out time to get a head start on the growth.  Plant in a sunny location with lots of room for root development.

The tuber root needs to be dug each year and stored in a cool, dark place.  If stored where freezing temperatures might occur the root will get mushy and be no good the following year.  As the plant grows each summer the root will multiply and when you dig them in the fall you will have many, many more pieces of root for next year.

After flowering a seed pod will start to develop.

Let it develop on the plant until the casing starts to split and you can see the seeds inside.  Store seeds in a dry place till the next growing season.

The seeds are very hard and need to be nicked and soaked in warm water for a few days.  Once a growing shoot appears they are now ready to pot up and begin growing.

After a couple of weeks the shoots should start to appear.  This is a long process and it takes a long time for the plant to develop and flower.   I much prefer to use the roots to grow new plants.

I have started to grow my cannas in containers.  Just be sure to give them plenty of water.


I find it so much easier to dig the roots this way.  No more back breaking digging for me.


The tub is put on its side with the garden wagon beside the plant table.  Tip the tub over and left off.  What an amazing root system the canna root develops over the season.  Then it is easy to pull the old root, break apart the soil and find the roots for storing.


Canna is what I call a high maintenance plant because of the digging and storage but if you have the time it is worth it to see them blooming in your garden.

garden printables at

If you collect the seeds there are printable seed packets or seed labels to use for seed swapping.

More from The Gardener Side

plants … seed info … veggies & herbs … bulbs, corms, tubers

the gardens  … whimsy in the garden

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