Canna, also referred to as Cannabis, is the only genus in the family Cannaceae. Canna is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the New World. Cannas come in shades of red and yellow, adding color to the gardens, especially for borders.
The canna plants are large tropical and subtropical perennial herbs with broad flat leaves that grow out of a stem in a long narrow roll and then unfurl. The flowers are typically red, orange, or yellow or any combination of those colors. The wild species often grow to 2-3 meters but there is a wide variation in size among cultivated plants. The leaves are typically solid green but some cultivars have brownish, maroon, or even variegated leaves. The canna flowers attract hummingbirds. All cannas are native to the New World, although some species are cultivated and naturalized in other tropical regions.
Cannabis is also known as hemp, although this term usually refers to cannabis cultivated for non-drug use. As a drug it is in the form of dried flowers (marijuana), resin (hashish), or various extracts collectively referred to as hash oil.
Facts About Cannas
- They make a very attractive planting for a large container, in raised beds or as background plants.
- Cannas (particularly Canna indica) are sometimes known as Indian Shot, as their seeds are small, round, and hard like bird shot.
- Canna seeds are used in jewelery such as bracelet and earings.
- The blossoms of the cultivated varieties are much bigger than the canna indica.
- Indian shot has very hard seeds with a dense coat.
- Canna rhizomes are edible and rich in starch and were once a staple foodcrop in Peru and Ecuador. However the rhizomes can be quite fibrous and must be steamed or boiled for hours to soften for consumption. When cooked they have a taste resembling sweet potato.
- Cannas may also fall victim to canna rust, a fungus resulting in orange spots on the plant's leaves.
- Canna is grown for human consumption in the Andes and also in Vietnam and southern China, where the starch is used to make cellophane noodles.
- Cannas are Propagated by seed, or by rhizomes.
- Canna seeds need to be scarified and soaked in water prior to planting.
- Cannas grow wild and are capable of growing in full sun, part sun, or even shade. They can be grown in pretty much any type of soil.
- Cannas commonly die back during cold months, only to leaf out and bloom during warmer months.
- Cannas demand regular water during the warm months.
Cannas Plant Care
- Do water a lot to establish the cannas initially.
- Protect the cannas from severe cold. In mild winter areas leave them in-ground for spring regrowth.
- If growing in cold winter areas, dig up the rhizomes and store them in a cool area for the winter, then plant out after frost has passsed away.