Canna lily does not belong to the family of lilies, but a genus of nineteen species of flowering plants, and has the likes of the banana and ginger in its family. Native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Southern America, they can be found growing all over the world. This hardy, perennial herb will grow well in USDA zones 7 to 11.
- This plant grows tall as compared to its counterparts; 4 to 6 feet in height, and has a vast spread.
- It is popular for its large, attractive foliage, and equally large, attractive flowers.
- Its leaves bear a close resemblance to banana leaves; it has broad, flat, and alternate leaves that grow out of a stem in a long, narrow roll, and then unfurl, as they begin to mature.
- Its foliage is a bright green, but new cultivars have reddish-brown or burgundy-colored leaves with yellow or green streaks passing through them.
- It is borne out of a rhizomatous rootstock and seeds.
- Its flowers have vibrant colors of orange, red-orange, and yellow, blooming through late spring to early fall.
- This plant can be easily propagated through its seeds, bulbs, tubers, or through division of rhizomes and tissue culture.
- Sow the seeds directly in the intended location or in Styrofoam cups in a moist sowing medium. The seeds will germinate within a week's time.
- Although it can be grown in large containers, it is not recommended, as it grows fast and tends to crowd the container.
- Divide roots during spring time, and plant them in a sunny spot in well-draining soil.
- Alter the soil composition with plenty of organic matter, and maintain soil pH at 6.1 to 7.5.
- Dig a hole deep enough to contain the entire root ball, and mulch around it to keep the soil moist.
- Space the plants two feet apart. Water them well, as they tend to dry out fast, besides they love plenty of moisture.
- It blooms as soon as it is established.
- Sunlight is the key to their bright color. Feed it with liquid fertilizer once the flower buds begin to appear.
- If you want to collect the seeds, let the flower wilt and dry on the plant itself, else remove deadheads to prolong the bloom period.
- Prune away all yellow leaves.
- There are hardly any pests or diseases that infect this plant, except the powdery mildew, which is quite easy to get rid of.
- These flowers tend to be quite invasive, so one needs to control their growth to keep them in shape. A hard prune to control the flower will not affect its viability.