Canna canna

(can' nah or kaa' nah)

Common name:Canna

Family:Cannaceae, Canna

Height x width: 18-48" x 12-24"

Growth rate: moderate to fast

Foliage:large to 2' long and 6" wide or more, simple, entire, banana-like, sheathing petioles; green, purplish or blue-green

Flowers: 4-6" across, terminal raceme or panicle, asymmetric flowers; red, orange, yellow, pink, occasionally white, sometimes spotted; often resembles gladiolus or butterfly

Hardiness: annual, zones 8-10

Soil: rich, fertile, moist (tolerates wet)

Light: sun

Pests and problems: bud rot, rust, mosaic and aster yellows viruses, Japanese beetle

Landscape habit, uses: specimen, background, formal and Victorian beds, alone in island beds, containers; very coarse or bold texture; tropical effect

Other interest: from Greek and Latin word for type of reed; native to American tropics and subtropics

Other culture: plant rhizomes 4-6" deep in spring, dig in fall after tops die and store frost-free; prefers heat and warm microclimates

Propagation: seeds (125 per ounce) sown 4-6 weeks before planting out (more for larger plants during the season, or if cold climate); thick rhizomes


edulis (e-duu' liss)--Arrowroot starch, produces cooking starch from edible tubers, known in West Indies as tous-les-mois

flaccida (fla' si-dah)--native to SE U.S., 5ft, parent of many hybrids

x generalis (gen-er-al' iss)--species of most ornamental cultivar hybrids, many with flaccida as a parent; separated into 2 types: tall 36-48", grown from rhizomes; short 18-24", grown from seed.

indica (in-di-cah')--Indian shot, refers to use of hard large black seeds as shot in West Indies, bright red flowers to 4 ft tall

latifolia (lat-i-fol' ee-ah)--scarlet flowers, green leaves with purple margins when young, from So. America

x orchiodes (or-key-oy' dees)--Orchid-flowered Canna, from Australia, large 6" across flowers with petals turning back (reflexing) after first day of bloom

Cultivars: (of x generalis)
Cultivars  type flowers foliage, other
'Black Knight' tall, 42" red bronze
'City of Portland' tall, 42" rosy pink green
'Gaiety' tall, 42" orange, yellow edges green
Grand Opera series tall, 42" roses, yellow gladiolus-flowered
'Miss Oklahoma' tall, 36" pink green
Pfitzer series tall, 36" yellows to reds, pink orchid-flowered, by Wm. Pfitzer
'Pretoria' tall, 42" orange green and gold variegated
'Red King Humbert' tall, 48" orange-red bronze-red
'Richard Wallace' tall, 36" golden yellow green
'Rosamond Cole' tall, 36" scarlet, yellow edge  
Seven Dwarfs series short, 18" yellows to reds, pink green 
'The President' tall, 36" scarlet glossy green
'Tropical Rose' short, 24" rose, 3-4" wide green, AAS winner
'Wyoming' tall, 42" orange bronze

(cultivar photo courtesy

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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