Cannas are lovely and fast-growing tropicals that will thrive in a wide range of climates and conditions
Few plants seem to grow as quickly and dramatically as cannas. The largest varieties can grow from 6-10 feet in a single season. Native to South America, these colorful plants have become a favorite in many gardens and landscapes.
Three sizes are propagated: dwarf (about 3 feet high), medium (4 feet), and tall (6 feet and above). Leaf colors range from burgundy to gold to green and newer hybrids may have streaked leaves. Flowers will also vary in color.
These gorgeous plants thrive in sun (6 hours) and moist soil. Some will even grow well in ponds. They prefer well-drained, organically rich soil, but can certainly do well in hard clay or sand.
Cannas are planted as rhizomes, which should be dug up for winter in zone 7 and lower. Otherwise, they can remain in the ground under a layer of mulch. The tubers should be planted about 6 inches below soil level and at least a foot apart, depending on size. These make wonder borders, but taller cannas can be grouped together to create a living, standalone sculpture in the yard.
Once the leaves begin to die off, cannas should be cut back to the ground for winter. Discard the foliage in a trash bag to isolate pest activity (leafrollers) and disease. Container plants should also be trimmed at the soil surface.
For winter storage,
remove the tubers after the first frost and keep as much soil compacted
around the roots as possible. Place in a plastic bag and store in a
cool place (around 50 degrees). If keeping several in a bag, rotate
them so the middle plants do not remain too warm. Allow for some air
circulation and they'll be ready to re-plant in the spring.
2005-2006 C.K. Kennedy
Pittsburg, TX 75686
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