Canna plants, often referred to as canna lilies, are members of the Cannaceae family and are characterized by their tropical-looking foliage and vibrant flowers. Indigenous to South African regions, these plants are typically winter hardy in USDA Plant Hardiness zones 7 to 10. Canna plants typically thrive in moist soils that receive full sun. Gardeners can choose from various canna varieties to add bold dashes of color to landscapes and ponds.
The Australia canna variety features 10- to 20-inch burgundy to black leaves that retain their dark color throughout the summer. The 3-inch red flowers bloom from July through September. This canna plant reaches between 4 and 5 feet in height with spreads of about 2 feet. Potential problems include aster yellows, leaf spots and snails. The Australia canna variety is often planted in large containers that can be taken inside for the winter.
The Striata is a canna hybrid variety bearing large, green leaves with yellow veins. This canna plant reaches 4 to 6 feet high with spreads ranging from 1 1/2 to 4 feet. The ornamental purple stems bear orange flowers from July through September. Striata plants are susceptible to bacterial blight and rusts. Caterpillars and Japanese beetles often feed on the foliage. Striata is often planted in masses or groups as borders or foundation plants.
The Cleopatra canna is a semidwarf variety that typically ranges from 3 to 4 feet in height. This plant typically bears yellow petals with red spots, but the partly red or fully red flower occasionally blooms. Cleopatra varieties prefer fully sunny locations and typically bloom from July through September. This canna variety grows well in containers and pots.
The Intrigue canna variety is a tall, upright plant that typically reaches between 6 and 8 feet in height and 4 to 5 feet in width. This canna plant features narrow, pointed, purplish-green foliage and orange flowers that bloom throughout the summer and early fall. The flowers bloom in salmon, orange and reddish shades.
The Lucifer canna is available in a dwarf variety that grows about 2 feet in height and a standard variety that reaches 3 to 4 feet in height. The bright red flowers have a striking yellow edging and bloom from July through September. The foliage has a blue-green tinge.
Aquatic canna is a water plant that successfully grows in water up to 8 inches deep. An aquatic canna typically ranges from 2 to 6 feet in height and 2 to 3 feet in width. These plants feature bluish-green foliage with narrow leaves that can reach up to 18 inches long. Common aquatic canna cultivars include the Endeavor, the Ra, the Erubus and the Tanny. The flowers bloom from July through September in shades of red, yellow, pink and burnt orange. Aquatic canna plants need rich soils in fully sunny to partly shady locations. Japanese beetles and slugs are occasional visitors. This canna variety is commonly planted in the shallower waters of water gardens and ponds.