The Canna lily, from the Cannaceae family, is a tall, striking, exotically colored specimen that brings tropical beauty to any garden setting. Once a favorite of Victorian era gardens, Canna lilies are popular in many countries because of their imposing foliage and eye-catching colors. Hundreds of Canna cultivars exist, classified by height. Pixie, dwarf, medium and tall Canna lilies produce a rainbow of single and bi-colored blooms paired with striped, variegated foliage that resembles the leaves of banana trees. Imagination is the only limit when including these beauties in the landscape.
Choose a location that offers full sunlight and well-draining soil. Canna lilies can tolerate more water than most plants but will not survive in a constantly soggy location.
Test soil at the planting site to determine pH levels. Canna lilies will not tolerate highly alkaline soils, and should be planted in a location that offers neutral or acidic soil with a level of 7.0 or lower.
Amend the soil with a blend of organic compost and sulfur, at a depth of 2 to 4 inches, if the soil is too alkaline. When applying sulfur, follow manufacturer's directions for rate of application. Compost acts as a neutralizer, while sulfur helps to loosen the soil and lower the pH level. Sand may also be incorporated to improve drainage.
Wait until all danger of hard frost has passed for the season before planting Calla rhizomes. In zones 8 through 10, Canna lilies can be planted as early as mid-March.
Dig 4- to 6-inch deep holes, spaced 12 inches apart for dwarf varieties, and 24 inches apart for larger varieties.
Place the rhizome in the hole horizontally, with the slight curve and eye facing upward.
Cover the Canna rhizome with 2 to 3 inches of soil and water generously to saturate the planting site.