Canna Information

Overview

The canna is a type of flowering plant. It is also commonly known as the canna lily, despite the fact that it isn't truly a lily. Canna is a genus that is comprised of 19 different species. The canna is part of the Cannaceae family, for which it is the sole genus. The plant is found in both subtropical and tropical regions, although many cultivars have been developed in temperate areas around the world.

Characteristics

Cannas are notable for their foliage. The plants have large leaves that resemble paddles. They come in blue-green, green and some are even striped. The flowers of the canna resemble lilies and are tubular. They come in colors and combinations of orange, yellow, pink and red. They are borne on high stalks that emerge from the foliage.

Varieties

There are various well-known and popular varieties of cannas. The Pretoria is also known as the Bengal tiger and has green leaves and deep red blossoms. The Lucifer has red flowers that have yellow borders and green leaves. The President and the Stuttgart have variegated white and green foliage and orange flowers.

Cultivation

The canna plant thrives in full sun with soil that is sandy or rich, and well-drained. Moderate levels of water are necessary. Cannas are cultivated from perennial rhizomes but are often grown as annuals in temperate areas (this gives the plants a more tropical and exotic appearance).

Diseases

Disease is comparatively rare with cannas. However, in some cases, they are victimized by canna rust, which is a type of fungus that is characterized by the appearance of bright orange spots on the leaves. This is caused by soil that is too moist. Some plant viruses could also affect cannas, which could bring about leaves that are streaked or spotted. The plant viruses could ultimately distort the blooms and permanently stunt the growth of the plant. A fuzzy and gray mold called botrytis can affect the flowers of the canna in times of humidity (this is particularly common with older flowers).

Pests

Cannas are also generally free of pests. However, in the United States, cannas sometimes are afflicted by the canna leaf roller, which can damage the leaves. The canna leaf roller is two different insects: the Brazilian skipper butterfly's larvae and a moth known as the lesser canna leaf roller. Snails and slugs sometimes feed on cannas and put big holes in the leaves, especially young leaves. Japanese beetles and red spider mites also can be problematic.

Keywords: canna, canna lily, cannaceae

About this Author

Isabel Prontes is a freelance writer and traveler residing in Manhattan, NY. She has traveled to five continents and counting. Her work has appeared on a number of websites, such as Travels, eHow.com and "Happy Living Magazine." Prontes has a professional background in public relations; she received a bachelor's degree in communication studies from Pace University.