The canna lily plant is a rhizomatous perennial with tropical-like foliage and large flowers that resemble that of iris. Canna lilies are low maintenance and easy to grow, and both their flowers and foliage offer long-lasting color in the garden. Flower color may be red, orange or yellow. Depending on the variety, foliage color varies from green to maroon, bronze, and variegated types. Let’s look at how to plant canna lilies and tips for growing cannas.
Canna plants should be located where they will have a visual impact at the height of summer. Most cannas are tall and need to be placed at the back of a bed, but there are some dwarf varieties that will look good at the front of the border. Here at our garden nursery, we combine cannas with spring bulbs, baptisia, daylilies, coneflowers, cuphea, and ornamental grasses. Canna plants are 55mph plants and can be located along highways where they can be appreciated by drivers. In 1986, in preparation for the US Olympic Festival in Raleigh, we introduced the NC Department of Transportation Roadside Beautification Division to canna lily bulbs, by sharing several dump truck loads of Canna bulbs (rhizomes) cultivar ‘The President’ from plantings that we had growing at the NC State Fair grounds. To say they liked cannas would be the understatement of the decade as visitors can now find Canna lilies planted along highways from one end of North Carolina to the other.