Canna Lilies

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were on a mission to add some “screening” to the front porch. We thought either tall planters or a low hanging basket….we decided on a little bit of both!

While at a local nursery, we were looking for something that took part sun. While the front porch is a bright location, direct sun doesn’t reach it until the afternoon and through the setting hours. We spotted a beautiful purple leafed plant that was full and upright, exactly what we had in mind. It was the South Pacific Scarlet Canna Lily. Some were already in bloom with deep red-orange blooms. We picked two that were not in bloom, with a straight up stalk (some were leaning), and with healthy leaves.

South Pacific Canna LiliesSince we weren’t really sure what we were looking for, I was doing my research there 😉 Mostly, I was interested in the container size since we were setting them along the front entry. I found an online post that recommended a 15″ to 18″ diameter pot. We went with the 15″ plastic container with a neutral “glazed” design. I also learned that Canna Lilies grow from horizontal rhizomes that can be divided in Spring (zones 7+) or divided in Winter when dormant and are dug out to store. The rhizome also sends out new shoots, spreading as wide as 2′ to 3′. The main stalk can grow tall, up to 7′. In the containers, I don’t imagine they would grown that tall. As the shoot grows tall into a stalk it grows large leaves that spiral out into shape, quite a sight to see! After about 6-9 leaves a thin stalk emerges from the middle with an inflorescence at the tip. What’s an inflorescence? … My thought exactly. An inflorescence is a cluster of flowers arranged on a stem that is composed of a main branch. After the inflorescence has finished blooming, the stalk will begin to die. But no worries here, as those new shoots that grow so quickly are not far behind to shine in the spotlight.

Canna Lily InflorescenceWe mulched the containers well to retain moisture and since the spot has some shade, I find myself watering every couple of days. We also had an empty hanging basket in the closet, so we found a nice Variegated Vinca that will spill over the sides of the hanging basket and bloom small blue flowers. We have it hanging right in between the two Canna Lilies.

verigated vincaBlooming did not take long for the Canna Lilies, about two weeks after we bought them and there they were!

South Pacific Canna Lily Bloom 2 South Pacific Canna Lily BloomYou can see the growth from the first picture to the last picture. In two weeks the leaves grew tall and wide. Read more about Growing Canna Lilies in your Garden!

6 thoughts on “Canna Lilies

  1. I grow Cannas in pots all the time – and they will grow tall – no worries there – but the bigger the pot the better – and the underground storage stem – technically called a rhizome is easily dug up at end of season here (CT Zone 6a) and stored in peat over the winter, they multiply – so your one Canna will be many! You will be addicted to them. They are easy to grow, in July sometimes a few eating opportunities for the Japanese Beetles here but they don’t do tremendous damage, maybe a leaf or two and I cut those off to deal with it, and grab the beetles off by hand when I spot them. Cannas make exceptional thrillers in container gardens! Enjoy, Cathy T

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    • Thanks for all the info Cathy! I will make the rhizome update 😉 My slightly leaning canna seems to be doing fine and is actually the one that bloomed first. It wasn’t leaning when we bought, but was at the very edge of the nursery pot, so the transplant must have caused the slack. I’ve seen a couple of bug bites in the leaves but haven’t spotted the bug, haha. One thing I noticed, they bloom in the morning and by the time we get home from work the bloom is fading. Is that normal? Or our TX heat? They’ve been fun so far and can’t wait to divide and plant in the ground in the future. Thanks again Cathy!


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