I canna do it! YES YOU CAN!
Ah, the canna lily. A little bit of the exotic West Indies here in Frome. I’m not sure what I like best, the great big sculptural flowers or the paddle shaped leathery leaves? Okay, I like both. I especially like that you canna grow them with very little effort indeed.
Originally brought back to the UK by plant hunters trekking around South America and the West Indies, there are some pretty varieties from dwarfs you can keep in patio pots, to giant varieties that can offer a showpiece that will grow up to 10 feet tall!
Aside from the height, the flowers also come in a huge variety of colours. So if you’re looking for floral fireworks in a hot, citrusy show of red, burnt oranges, yellows and even a few pinks and whites – something to really ooo and ahhh over – then the canna, can be for you.
But how do you grow these exotic lovelies. Surely there must be some secret?
As they have grown up in the hot tropics, it’s no surprise that they thrive in full sun. They also like a bed warmed by the summer – so plant out after frosts – and water regularly to keep them nice and moist. In fact, if you’re looking for a plant that will thrive well in a bog garden or next to a pond, you could do a lot worse than a canna. They also do extremely well in cooler conservatories.
Planting and Care:
Plant in full sun, keep moist and add a liquid feed once a month. As they’re tender, wait until the soil has been well warmed (at least to 15 degrees) and all threat of frost has passed before planting cannas outdoors – usually late May in Somerset.
Deadhead throughout the summer to encourage flowering and when there are no more buds prune to the next side shoot where another flower should develop.
They do need their space, so don’t crowd them in. Plant 1-2 feet apart and make sure they’re well weeded. When the temperature dips, the tubers will need to be dug up and brought indoors to be overwintered.
What do cannas look good with? Planting scheme tips…
Make cannas a centre piece in a mix of grasses, or as part of the show with snapdragons, zinnias, salvias and elephant ears.
Where can I buy canna lilies?
I’m so glad you asked that. We've been selling them at the Station Approach in Frome throughout the summer but stocks are now low. Follow us though on Facebook and Instagram where we'll post when we'll be selling them next year!