How to Grow a Canna Lily From a Seed


Canna lilies or Canna generalis are exotic looking plants that are grown for their gorgeous flowers and striking leaves. Flower colors can include yellow, red, orange and pink. Generally, cannas grow 3 to 5 feet with some bigger varieties growing as tall as 8 to 10 feet. Cannas do well in full sun with moist well drained soil. They require watering at least once a week and fertilizing a couple times during the growing season. They can be used as accents, background plants or the smaller varieties can be used in container gardening. Cannas can be started from seeds under the proper conditions.

Prepare the Seeds

Step 1

Nick the seeds with a nail clipper to break the outer coating. Soak the seeds in warm water for one to two days.

Step 2

Sow the seeds indoors a quarter-inch deep in a planting tray of vermiculite or regular soil mix, 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost date. Keep the soil moist and at room temperature between 65 degrees and 70 degrees. Germination will occur in a week to two week's time.

Step 3

After they reach 6 inches tall, transplant the seedlings into individual pots filled with a well-draining potting soil. Lightly fertilize with a granular plant fertilizer. Keep the potting mix moist and place in a sunny spot.

Step 4

Move the seedlings to their desired location after the danger of the last frost. They can be container plants on a deck or patio or planted directly into the garden.

Tips and Warnings

  • Canna Lilies are a tropical plant. If planted outdoors before the danger of the last frost they will die.

Things You'll Need

  • Canna seeds
  • Planting containers
  • Soil or vermiculite
  • Fertilizer and Water
  • Garden Containers


  • Canna X Generalis - Canna Lily
  • Crafty Gardener: Canna or Canna Lily
  • Organic Gardening: How to Propagate Canna by Seed
  • Iowa State University: Cannas for Home Landscape
Keywords: Canna Seeds, Sowing Seeds, Sowing Canna Seeds

About this Author

Sheri Engstrom has been writing for 15 years. She is currently a gardening writer for Demand Studios. Engstrom completed the master gardener program at the University of Minnesota Extension service. She is published in their book "The Best Plants for 30 Tough Sites." She is also the online education examiner Minneapolis for