Colourful and large
The Canna Lily (or Tropicana Lily), with their height, tropical flair and season-long colour, are an excellent choice for container gardens.
These perennials come in a vast variety of colour and boast immense, often-veined, paddle-shaped leaves and sheathing leafstalks in shades of green or bronze.
With their great reedy canes and palmy foliage, canna lilies would be magnificent even if they never bloomed. However, they keep blossoming from late spring or early summer to frost.
- Cannas do best with a good supply of water, so water the plants during the summer if the rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. Water freely in a dry spell.
Keep a thin layer of mulch around cannas to help retain moisture as well.
- Stake tall varieties if needed.
- As flowers fade, deadhead to promote continued flowering.
- After the flower stem has been deadheaded several times and is no longer producing flowers, cut the flower stem and any attached foliage to the ground, as this can help nearby cannas get more light and flower themselves. (If you prefer, just cut the stem back to the foliage, which will last until the first frost.)
- After autumn frost blackens the foliage, remove the stems and leaves. See your local frost dates.
- Cannas are winter hardy in zones 7 to 10. Otherwise, you need to lift the rhizomes for winter storage. Store in barely-moist peat or leaf mould in frost-free conditions. Space rhizomes so that they are not touching. See more details below.
- In the deep South, let cannas grow without moving them, until the clumps grow very matted. Every 3 to 4 years in the winter, dig up the clumps, separate the roots, and plant them in well-enriched soil.
- Some gardeners as low as zone 7 have reported that their cannas are getting through the winter without being dug up; just be sure to protect the tubers with a heavy layer of mulch.