Cannas – Flower Characteristics, Varieties and Plant Care

Cannes are magnificent flowers that any gardener will want to decorate their flowerbeds with. They are often found in parks and gardens in city flowerbeds. The plant does not need special care and is rather undemanding in terms of growing conditions.

Canna Flower Description

Cannas (lat. Canna) is a genus of the family of Cannas; there are at least 50 species of the plants. The natural habitat is America, China, and India. In Europe, they appeared only at the end of the 16th century. From Greek, "canna" is a reed. The only similarity between canna and reed is the type of stem. From Latin, "canna" is a tube. A legend says that the trumpet flower sprouted in the ashes of a fire, and a peace agreement was burned in it, resulting in a very ruthless war. The flowers were associated with tongues of flame and also with human blood poured out in that war. The plant is very showy and leaves no one indifferent. Its flower is
bright scarlet, and the leaves of this plant, in general, are marvelous; they can be dark green and purple or even dark purple.

The canna flower resembles a banana, orchid, and gladiolus. It can even be a cross between the two. Cannas is totally odorless and very heat-loving. It has a lot of peculiarities. One of the most important ones is that it doesn't suffer from almost any diseases. It's a pleasure to grow, even for novice growers. Cannas do not require frequent watering. We can safely say that the plant likes a drought. In general, it could be more fastidious.

See Also:

The roots of the canna flower are like the roots of the iris. They spread out like branches. They grow exceptionally wide. The flowering stems are quite thick and grow to a height of up to three meters. The leaves are large and massive, not much narrower at the end. They can be up to one meter long and at least 20 cm wide. The hues of the leaves attract a lot of attention. The cannas bloom extremely beautifully. They are entirely asymmetrical and can be up to 4cm in size. The color is blood red. But other colors have already been bred. Orange, pink, and yellow can be found. There are also multicolored, dotted, and striped. White Cannes are very rare. The
flowers form an inflorescence.

Characteristics of Cannes

Cannes resemble iris and gladiolus in appearance. The stems and leaves of Cannes are referred to as fodder crops, and the rhizome is used to make starch. The leaves come in green, purple, monochrome, and striped. They are quite large, reaching 80 cm long and 35 cm wide. The terrycloth protects the leaves from diseases, vermin, and lousy weather. This size and color make Cannes look decorative even when not flowering.

The flowers are arranged in loose asymmetrical inflorescences, reaching a diameter of 10 cm. The inflorescences are yellow, red, and bicolored, with a transition of tone and edging. Cannas with white petals are the rarest. Perennials look nice in solitary plantings but even better in groups.

Courgettes, loggias, and mixed gardens can be decorated with them. If you choose to plant the plant in the garden, it should be at the forefront. These decorative flowers make a beautiful decoration for your winter garden and take their place in the center of your bed. They flower from July until the first frost. They do not overwinter well in the mid-latitudes, so you will need to dig the tubers out for the winter. The plant is hypoallergenic and odorless. Heat and drought will not cause any problems either. The perennial is disease-free primarily and easy to care for. The petals of the flowers are staminodes, i.e., modified pistils and stamens, which have lost their ability to produce pollen. The fruit is a seed pod.

Varieties of Cannas

There are many different species and varieties of Cannes. They can be divided into early Cannes, which first blooms in June, and late Cannes, which blooms from mid-July until the first frost.

  • Canna indica

    A large perennial is native to South America. Florists love it for its abundant flowering and its climate tolerance. Glossy, textured leaves on tall stalks. The shade of the leaves varies from lettuce to bronze or even black. The flowers are bright and vary in shade depending on the variety. The buds are arranged in spike-like inflorescences and live only for a few days, with new ones replacing the old ones.

    These beautiful flowers prefer open and sunny locations. In India, Indonesia, and Australia, locals grow crops for food and starch extraction. Plant breeders have adapted these exotics to live in more severe conditions, and now the big Cannes are often found in Eastern Europe.

  • Black Knight canna

    This variety is considered the most popular variety of Indian canna. It looks imposing and has a long flowering time. It stands out with its red petals and leaves that are almost black. The seedling grows to a height of over one meter. The plant is named 'Black Knight' because of its majestic appearance. The inflorescence has 3 petals, approximately 7-10cm in diameter. Flowering lasts from July to September. Rain and wind can't cause any severe damage to the hardy plant, but it needs to keep it warm and dry over the winter.

  • Orchid-like (orchid-like) Cannes

    A tall variety that grows to a height of up to 2 m. The flowers are large, the petals have corrugated edges, and the leaves are green with a violet tint. The flowers grow to an incredible 17 cm in diameter. The most popular varieties are Suevia and Richard Wallace. The flowers resemble the perennial cattleya epiphytes.

    This giant grows up to 3 m tall, and the leaves are decorative, light green, burgundy, or brown. The leaves are oval, with a shiny rind, up to 80 cm long. The flowers open gradually and alternately, from bottom to top. Under favorable conditions, 2 to 4 flowers can simultaneously bloom on a single stem.

  • Small-flowered Cannes

    The leaves on this species look lovely and are why many people want to grow small-flowered Cannes in their gardens. The leaves are either completely purple or with a green tint. The flowers are too small to pretend to be decorative, growing to just 6 cm. More often than not, florists acquire the Durban variety with orange-colored flowers. The bronze leaf laminae are cut with graceful longitudinal stripes.

Sowing Seeds

Cannas is a frost-hardy tropical plant and can only be planted outdoors after frost. Experienced growers advise planting the plant in May at the earliest and inspecting all tubers carefully for diseases before planting.

Before planting seeds, you should know that this is a long and relatively unreliable way of growing cannas. Propagation by cuttings is usually much quicker and requires less effort. In addition, many of them will not germinate in the climatic conditions of the midlands. The seeds are covered by a thick, glossy coat that needs to be softened before planting. To do this, pour boiling water over the seeds and place them in warm water for 2-3 hours. The planting material is then sewn into a loose substrate at room temperature. The seeds need semi-shade. The first leaves form after a month, and after the appearance of 3-4 leaf plates, the seedlings are potted into individual pots. Prepare the seedlings before transplanting them into the loose soil. Keep them at a temperature of +15-17 degrees before transplanting to harden the young plants. Some will flower later in the year, and the rest will hopefully bloom again next season.

Splitting the tubers, even inexperienced growers can easily do the job. In early March, divide the tuber into several parts with one potent or several weak buds in each piece. Cover the cutting area with carbon powder and dry it for a few hours. The seedlings are then placed horizontally in a greenhouse container, identifying them as densely as possible. Put 1-2 cm of sand on top and moisten the substrate with a sprayer.

As soon as the leaves emerge, transplant the tubers into separate containers and place them in a cool (+15-17 degrees) place. Every 10 days, water the tubers with a solution of potassium permanganate. It is needed to prevent fungal diseases and disinfect the soil. Flowering in tubers begins a little later and is often delayed until the next year, but such Cannes retain the genetic code of the mother plant.

Planting Cannas

Florists start planting by May 5-10 because if night frosts hit or the temperature drops below 13 degrees, the canna will see unlikely blossom in the summer. Good growth will be stimulated by a 'hot bedding' of manure. A layer of manure at least 20 cm thick should be poured into the planting hole for drainage. The organic fertilizer will retain heat for the tropical plant's root system and help the shrubs to grow strong even in climatic conditions.
The manure is covered with soil and watered, and the shrubs are planted in holes about half a meter wide. The bulb is buried to a depth of 6-8 cm. The distance between the bushes should be approximately 50 cm, even when planting in groups. If everything is done correctly, heavy flowering will occur in a month and a half.


If cared for correctly, canna will grow very quickly, and the pot should be changed annually to increase its volume. The plant should be transplanted using the root ball method, and the space around it should be tamped down with garden soil. Transplanting is generally not stressful for the plant, but it is best not to water it for the first two days. Stagnant water is the main enemy of tropical beauty. Florists recommend loosening the soil around the plant and periodically pouring water into the tray. Loosening also gives additional access to oxygen and refreshes the topsoil.

Sick plants infested by grey rot or other pests also need replanting. But refrain from jumping to conclusions – some plants shed their leaves before overwintering. After the buds have bloomed, the shrub begins to prepare for winter. It is up to the grower to ensure these conditions and to gradually reduce or even stop watering for 5-9 days. The leaves are cut off at 10-15 cm from the base of the shrub, and the pot is moved to a cool place with
diffused light. In the spring, remove the rhizome and place it in different banks.


When to plant cannas?

After overnight spring frosts, gradually prepare the site for planting Cannes outdoors. The place for the flowers should be well exposed to the sun and well protected from the wind. A nutritious, rich substrate with plenty of organic matter and good drainage is suitable. We recommend expanded clay pebbles for drainage. Make the substrate from leaf soil, peat, mulch, and coarse sand.

Can I grow Cannas inside?

Cannas can be grown in a pot at home like any other houseplant, or you can dig it out carefully in the autumn and replant it in a tub or pot with a diameter of 50 cm and sprinkle the garden soil with insecticide to prevent insects that might damage the flower from being carried into the house.

Where is the best place to plant Cannas?

Tropical Cannas need direct sunlight. Prepare an open, wind-protected area for planting. The soil should be light, fertile, slightly acidic or neutral, and make sure it is moist. Loosen it to a depth of 30-40 cm and then add compost to a 5-10 cm layer.