If there’s one group of flowers that knows how to throw a summer party, it’s the Canna lily! Right now they are hitting their straps, and nowhere are they more gorgeous than at the Auckland Botanic Gardens when I went for a visit last weekend.
These members of the ginger family range from knee high to 2m tall, flower in pastels through to hot shades and have foliage from subtle grey green right through to orange, green and chocolate stripes…and they are so easy to grow!
They generally like a rich moist soil but will also cope with bone dry conditions. They can handle sun or shade, and some cannas thrive in wet, boggy conditions.
Cannas are heavy feeders - feed at the start of spring and again in summer for a good display. Prune cannas right to the ground in winter to get rid of all the tatty foliage – they will resprout again in spring. Put slugbait down early to avoid leaf damage.
BIG TIP - Don’t prune canna flower stems until the dead of winter –the new flowering shoot comes up where the dead flower was, and a month or so later will produce more flowers. Some flower stems will produce four lots of flowers, so put the secateurs away until the first frost!
Lift and divide your canna clumps roughly every three years – plant in new fresh soil to keep them healthy and to stop the clumps from getting too big.
Canna ‘Gabriel’ – dwarf peachy apricot, super pretty
Canna ‘Tropicanna Black’ – stunning purple black foliage and intense orange red flowers in a tidy clump.
Canna ‘Panache’ – at home in any garden scheme, mid-height with apricot, pink and yellow petals.
Canna ‘Tropical White’ – beautiful dwarf with white flowers
Canna ‘Endeavour’ – tall with lance shaped leaves and orangy-red flowers, will cope in moist or dry soils
Canna iridiflora ‘Ehemanii’ – tall, with gorgeous deep pink pendulous flowers. A showstopper in the subtropical garden!