Red Shade creates a little tropical paradise in
the home garden.
a wake-up call for me: Cannas are still among the most
treasured flowers in the garden. I love gingers and
occasionally I will fret with heliconia or bird of
paradise, but truthfully the tropical look of the canna
is hard to beat.
Tiger has always been my favorite except for the time my
LSU counterparts started welcoming me into the Tiger
Nation. But this variegated green- and yellow-leafed
canna with deep orange flowers is indeed truly
incredible. In full scorching sun it looks a little more
golden, while in shadier locations lime green almost
gardeners are discovering it every year, but would you
believe it was imported from India in 1963? Here at the
Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens we have ours combined
with flowering bananas for an island paradise setting.
The key to your happiness is to use enough to create a
show. Spot planting rarely entices you to linger or grab
for the camera.
next favorite is Tropicanna. It is hard for me to
believe I first wrote about it in 1997. The leaves are
really the most exotic in the canna world. It is a
struggle to adequately describe the beauty as each leaf
is different. There are green and gold variegations or
stripes but broadly colored with burgundy, rust and pink
as well. To see these backlit by the sun in a botanical
treat. We used these in proximity to a large Fantasy
crape myrtle with picturesque rust bark and nearby
golden yellow yarrow.
addition to quantity with cannas it is also about
companionships and letting your creative side step-out.
The canna calls for you to be fearless when it comes to
preconceived partnerships or rules. Whether you want the
Caribbean island look, Grandmaís cottage garden, a
backyard hummingbird garden, or a style that reflects
more tradition, cannas can do it all for you.
our cottage garden one of the most stunning combinations
uses salmon-colored cannas and purple monarda or bee
balm. Honestly this combination stretched my comfort
zone, so to speak, but has proven to be a Kodak moment
for several visitors.
of the variety you choose, the best blooming will occur
in full sun, though partial shade is tolerated. While
the plants can thrive in soggy conditions, they will be
more cold-hardy in soils that are fertile yet well
drained. Though you are buying hybrid seed produced
plants or those grown from tissue culture you can expect
them to be perennial in zones 7 through 10. In colder
regions consider digging the rhizomes for storage or
growing in containers and tucking them inside the garage
for the dormant season.
preparation pays dividends with cannas. Amend tight,
heavy soils with 3 to 4 inches of organic matter like
peat or humus, and till to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.
While tilling the soil, incorporate 3 pounds of a 5-10-5
fertilizer per 100 square feet of planting area.
you havenít tried cannas in a few years it is probably
time you took notice at your garden center. Keep your
eyes opened for the new Cannova series, the first F1
hybrid seed produced series. These were actually bred in
the Netherlands and offer exceptional blooms in cooler
climates in addition to those on the sultry side. Things
have changed with cannas, and you will be pleasantly
surprised to have this tropical flower giving you a
touch of island life.