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Cannas are cold rhizomatous plants that have beautiful flowers with astonishing colors. These plants, close to the banana tree, develop long stems with oval, green, or purple leaves about 50 cm long. They produce bunches of very bright tubular flowers, sometimes even spotted. In spring, cannas are planted 10cm deep and 60cm apart in vigorous, well-drained soil in full sun. When frosty, the wilted foliage should be folded down to 10 cm from the base, pulled up before frost and stored in a new, airy room or grown in pots for wintering. Cannas are used in bed with cosmos or bamboos where they bring a lot of shine. To find out everything you need to know about them and how to grow them well, read this article.
You can learn the following: * Botanical Description
* Main Features
* Where to Plant the Cannas?
* When and How to Plant Cannas?
* Care and Maintenance
The canna is a perennial plant with a rhizome that comes from tropical and subtropical regions of America (Central America, South America, and the Caribbean), which explains its frosty character! It has become naturalized in many areas of the world (Australia, New Zealand, South-East Africa, and Hawaii).
In nature, you can find the canna flower in wetlands, forest edges, and river banks. In gardens, many varieties are grown and obtained by hybridization. You appreciate the canna for the abundant foliage and the colorful flowering. Also, there are a total of a dozen botanical species of cannas. The most common in cultivation is canna indica, also called canna edulis.
The name canna comes from the Greek “kanna” and refers to a reed or rush. In South America, the flower is called achira. Canna is a plant quite similar to ginger, banana, heliconia, and strelitzia. Their foliage is very similar to that of banana trees. The canna belongs to the family cannaceae! Indeed, this family does not include any other plant genus. They are monocotyledonous plants, such as grasses, palms, or orchids.
Cannas are remarkable for their brilliant flowering! The flowers are always gracious and very brightly colored. Depending on the variety, they are golden yellow, orange, or red, sometimes pink. The flowers can also be cream or even salmon. There are also a few varieties with white flowers, but they are less frequent. Often, it happens that the flowers are two-colored, spotted.
Cannas produce large clumps of upright, very imposing leaves. They are vigorous plants that multiply quickly. Also, the stems are straight, sturdy, and unbranched. The smallest varieties do not exceed 60 cm in height, while the largest ones reach up to 2.50 m high, or even more!
Cannas bloom from July to October-November. The flowering period lasts longer. Also, they are gathered in bunches at the top of spikes erect above the foliage. Nevertheless, the flowers are original, irregular, and may look like iris or orchid flowers. They are often between 5 and 10 cm in diameter. The flowers are composed of three petals and three sepals but are rather discreet, small, and a little hidden.
They have large, oblong, and vast leaves, which give them a luxurious side. The leaves are simple, whole, alternate, and sheathing at the base.
The foliage of the canna is particularly elegant. Indeed, you can enjoy its majestic and lush appearance! The leaves often measure between 40 and 60 cm in length, sometimes up to 1 m long. They reach 10 to 30 cm in width. Its leaves resemble those of the banana tree.
Where to Plant the Cannas?
The canna needs heat. Place it in the sun! The flowering may be much less beautiful if you put it in the shade. Also, plant it preferably in a place sheltered from the prevailing winds.
Canna is a relatively greedy plant. It likes humus-rich, fertile soil. It is always a good idea to bring compost or manure to enrich the soil before planting. It prefers a rather deep and loose earth. It often grows in wet areas or along river banks, the canna likes soils that remain relatively cool, but it is essential to plant it in a land that is nevertheless draining.
The canna can be adapted to a potted planting, for example, to decorate a balcony or terrace. As canna is a plant of tropical or subtropical origin, you can also grow it in a greenhouse or veranda.
When and How to Plant Cannas?
Cannas are planted in the ground in the spring, in May or June, when there is no longer any risk of frost. You can plant as early as April if you live in a region with a mild climate.
You can save time by planting the rhizomes first in a pot (in February-March), which you can place indoors, and then take them out later when the temperatures have become milder.
In a pot:
To allow the cannas to form large clumps more quickly and hasten flowering, do not hesitate to plant the rhizomes in pots at the end of winter, which you can place indoors, under a heated shelter. To plant them in the garden as soon as there is no longer any risk of frost.
First, choose a pot of at least 30 cm in diameter and place some compost in it. Plant the rhizome about 10 cm deep. Then, cover with soil, pack it down, and water. Place the pot in a greenhouse, veranda, or inside your house.
Care and Maintenance
Cannas require a little maintenance. It is preferable to remove wilted flowers, as this encourages a more extended flowering period. As soon as a flower stalk is fully deflowered and no longer bears buds, you can remove it.
You should water regularly in the summer, as cannas appreciate relatively fresh soil (but avoid excess moisture). We also advise you to mulch the ground to prevent it from drying out too quickly. Watering can be a little more frequent if you grow them in pots!
We suggest that you add fertilizer or organic matter in the spring when the plant is in full growth.
Cannas do not have any problems with diseases and pests, except perhaps slugs and snails sometimes tend to eat the young shoots in the spring. They can also occasionally be attacked by red spiders, which cause discoloration of the foliage.
With their luxuriant appearance and flamboyant flowering, cannas are the ideal plants to offer us beautiful colors to the garden! We appreciate them for their warm yellow, orange, or red summer blooms and their extremely decorative foliage, green or purple. Majestic and imposing plants, the cannas immediately bring a lot of strength to a bed! They also deserve a central place in the garden. They instantly create an impressive effect, which is why they are often used in cities to decorate public spaces. However, their size is quite variable: there are giant cannas, like dwarf cannas, adapted to a potted culture!
Not very susceptible to diseases and pests, they are robust plants, very vigorous, and fast-growing! On the whole, they are not very hardy, although some varieties can withstand temperatures as low as -10 degrees. To offer a beautiful and generous flowering, they require a warm situation, enough humidity, and fertile soil.