Canna Lily Complete Guide To Grow And Care

Canna Lily: Large, banana-like leaves characterize cannas (Canna × generalis), which are tropical and subtropical flowering plants. A dizzying assortment of cannas is now available due to their popularity and active hybridization; many have huge, beautiful flowers and variegated leaves that, when the sun shines through them, are like stained glass. Despite their eye-catching blooms, cannas are frequently planted just for their leaves. The big, paddle-shaped leaves can have stripes and variegation and appear in a variety of greens, blue greens, and golden hues.

Canna flowers are rather tubular and lily-like. They are carried on tall stalks that emerge from the foliage and occur in many shades and combinations of yellow, orange, red, and pink. Rhizomes that are sown in the spring, following the last frost, will take a few weeks to sprout, but once they do, they will develop quickly and frequently blossom in the first year.

Cannas are rarely classified and are simply referred to as hybrids because the majority of them that are sold nowadays are the product of numerous crossings.

Canna Lily Plant Overview

Image Credit / Pinterest
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

Canna Lily Care

Image Credit / Pinterest

Cannas will repeat-bloom all summer in planting zones 8 and up, and all year in zones 9 and up. There are three choices available to everyone else: There are three options: dig up and store the rhizomes for the winter (and transplant them in spring), pot the plants and bring them indoors to live as houseplants, or let them die off each fall and start over with fresh rhizomes in the spring.

When the blooms begin to fade, deadhead your plants to ensure they continue to bloom all season long. You can prune the flower stalks before they open to bloom if you would rather cultivate cannas just for their foliage.

The number of “eyes” on a rhizome is related to the size and quantity of canna blossoms. The larger and better-looking the plant, the more eyes it has. Select rhizomes that have three to five eyes, then plant them four to five inches deep in the spring with the eyes pointing up. Alternatively, if you want to plant them indoors four to six weeks ahead of your typical last frost date, pot them up, and then take them outside when the weather warms. The rhizomes should be kept damp but not drenched.

Light Requirements

Cannas thrive in direct sunlight. This implies that while they require heat to promote growth, they might require more water in extremely hot conditions. Some afternoon shade prolongs the life of flowers, especially in the hottest locations.


Cannas should be planted in rich, moist soil that has a pH of either neutral or slightly acidic.


Cannas require consistently wet soil and water. A lot of water, especially when it’s really hot. The leaves will tear or fracture if there is not enough water.

Temperature and Environment

Blooming is influenced by the weather and climate. Plants in regions with chilly springs could take a while to sprout. They will blossom earlier if you pot them up indoors before your typical last frost date and transplant them outside while they are still growing. Cannas are tropical plants that love humid air, although they can even survive relative dryness if given enough water.


Cannas are voracious plants that require a lot of water in addition to being food-storing due to the presence of rhizomes. Feed them with a balanced fertilizer in the early spring and summer. As for the quantity, adhere to the directions on the product label.

Types of Canna Lily

  • ‘Lucifer’: red flowers with yellow borders; green leaves; two feet tall
  • ‘The President’: scarlet blossoms; green leaves; three to three and one-half feet tall
  • ‘Pretoria’ (‘Bengal Tiger’): orange flowers; yellow and green striped foliage; four to six feet tall
  • ‘Stuttgart’: orange flowers; green and white variegated foliage; three to four feet tall
  • ‘Tropicanna’: dark variegated leaves with large, orange flowers; also offered with black leaves and gold flowers; four to six feet tall

Propagating Canna Lily

Image Credit / Pinterest

Canna lilies are often grown from rhizomes rather than seeds because the majority of the more recent forms are hybrids. Cut the foliage and stem to six inches if you live in a frost-prone area and want to save cannas for the following growing season. After that, remove the rhizomes and allow them to dry in a shaded, sheltered area. After the rhizomes are dry, shake off any remaining dirt, cover them in newspaper, and keep them somewhere cold and dark until spring. Make sure they are not drying out or decomposing by checking on them from time to time.

A single canna rhizome can grow significantly larger during a growing season and produce branch structures. To create new plants, well-developed offshoots can be severed from the primary rhizome. Seek out shoots with three or more developing points, or eyes. You can do this in the spring, when you dig up the rhizomes for storage in the fall, or after you pull them out of storage.

Potting and Repotting Canna Lily

Rich potting soil and adequate drainage are essential for canna lilies planted in pots. It is advised to place pebbles at the base of a pot with adequate drainage holes. The pot itself should be fairly large, with a diameter of at least 12 inches. It can be built of any material, provided that there are plenty of the previously specified drainage holes. These plants can grow to be rather tall, thus it should also be extremely strong. Planting the rhizomes four to five inches deep is recommended.


Canna lilies can easily survive the winter underground in warmer climates. It’s preferable to bring canna lilies indoors to overwinter if there are multiple months when the temperature drops below freezing. To accomplish this, carefully lift the group of rhizomes and transfer the plant into a pot. Place a lid on the pot and store it somewhere dry and cold, like an unheated garage. As soon as the dirt becomes sufficiently soft to deal with, replace the lilies in the ground.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

Canna leaves have a waxy coating that keeps out moisture and guards against disease. Rust and bacterial blight can afflict them, particularly in soils with poor drainage. Slugs and snails may eat the leaves, while pests like leaf rollers and caterpillars can cause issues.

How to Get Canna Lily to Bloom?

Make sure the canna lily receives full sun and a 5-10-5 fertilizer feeding in the spring to ensure continuous flowering. As for the quantity, adhere to the directions on the product label. Weekly watering should be ample, and when the blooms start to wither off, you should deadhead them to promote further growth. Verify that the rhizomes are only two to three inches deep in the ground; planting them any deeper would limit the plant’s ability to thrive.

Overcrowding of canna lilies will result in competition for nutrients and fewer blooms. Every two to three years, divide the lilies to correct this condition.

Common Problems With Canna Lily

Canna lilies can flourish nicely for years, but they can also have certain issues. These are the most typical ones.

Leaves Stuck Together or Covered in Black Droppings

The leaf roller, a microscopic pest that can gather leaves with silky strands to conceal and eat, is responsible for this. An effective pesticide will work wonders.

Holes in Leaves

The unmistakable symptom of snails or slugs is holes in the leaves. Hand-remove these or repel them with horticultural oil.

Curling Leaves

Aphids produce a sticky sap that can cause your plant’s leaves to curl up, making it look quite unattractive. For severe infestations, use insecticide or blast them away with a water hose.

Fuzzy Mold

A plant with fuzzy mold on it is a victim of Botrytis blight. Fungicides can be used to treat this type of fungus. Take into consideration pulling the plant if the infection is serious.

Also Read:  Geranium Flower Complete Guide To Grow And Care

1 thought on “Canna Lily Complete Guide To Grow And Care”

Leave a Comment