By Bonnie-Marie Hibbs
You can’t go past the vibrant blooms and contrasting foliage of a Canna Lily. These tropical beauties are loved for their season displays and resilience in the garden. If you have ever desired to have a tropical garden this is a must-have plant!
Canna Lilies are subtropical herbaceous perennials, which grow from a rhizome root system. Even though these stunning plants originate from warmer, tropical climates they do extremely well in colder climates too. In early spring new foliage growth emerges from the soil to reveal large, paddle-like decorative leaves. The foliage ranges from lush green to multi-coloured orange-red varieties. One of the most loved features of these plants is when the foliage is backlit by the setting sun, taking on the appearance of large jewels sparkling in the garden.
From late spring through the summer and into early autumn, candy-coloured blooms emerge above the foliage adding a whole new look to the garden. These plants are very easy to come into flower without much effort, however, fertilising with an all-purpose fertiliser will encourage another flush of blooms to form and healthy new growth.
Following the flowering season, Canna Lilies will remain in leaf, providing months of continuous colour, texture and contrast in the garden before going dormant in the winter. From late Autumn, the foliage will begin to turn yellow to brown. Once the foliage has browned completely, prune the all growth back to ground level.
Canna Lilies are very easy to establish in the garden with very little maintenance required. They grow best in free-draining, humus-rich soil and will establish in clumps quickly if planted out into garden beds. However, if you have limited space they grow nicely in larger containers provided they get adequate amounts of water during the summer months. When plants are dormant they can be lifted to have their rhizomes divided to create more plants. It is recommended that if you have Canna Lilies growing in the garden to lift and divide plants every 2-3 years. These fast-growing plants look brilliant when planted on mass or left to go wild in the garden. They also establish well in narrow garden beds or near pools to create a lush, tropical garden.
Tropicana – Stunning form with multi-coloured striped foliage of orange, green, red and pink tones which are fantastic for adding contrast into garden beds. Growing to a height of 1.2-1.8 metres in garden beds. From late spring, brilliant tangerine/orange blooms.
Tropicana Gold – Slightly different from the classic green forms Tropicana Gold has green and yellow striped foliage which is striking in any garden setting. From late spring, golden-yellow blooms emerge above the foliage. Grows to 12.-1.8 metres in garden beds and 1-1.2 in containers.
Tropicana Black – This new gothic Canna is all the rave in landscape designs as it is highly sought after for its deep purple-black leaves which are crowned with vibrant orange/scarlet blooms in the summer. A true stand out for any garden!