Canna tropicannas are among the most dramatic plants available for the home garden. Most Canna tropicannas have orange blooms and green foliage with pink stripes. However, the gold variety has yellow and orange blooms, and green foliage with gold stripes; and the black variety has tangerine blooms and deep purplish-black foliage. Canna tropicannas grow to be 3 to 5 feet tall and are a favorite among gardeners who enjoy exotic plants.
Plan on purchasing your Canna tropicannas in the spring and planting them after the last frost of the season. In zones 8 through 10, this occurs from mid March to mid April; in colder zones it occurs usually before mid May. In zone 11 or for indoor use, Canna tropicannas can be planted anytime.
Calculate how many Canna tropicannas to purchase. You will need at least one plant for every 24 inches of space. If desired though, plant as close together as 6 inches for a more impressive display of flowers. Be aware, though, that in zones 8 through 11 they will need to be dug up and divided every year or two for the plants to thrive. In colder zones, they need to be dug up anyway for winter keeping.
Decide between buying rhizomes or established plants. Rhizomes (Canna tropicannas' underground root structures) will most likely cost less than established plants but will take a few weeks longer to grow and bloom. Many nurseries carry both.
Purchase your Canna tropicannas in person or online. You can order through a catalog, but most catalog nurseries are online now. At a local nursery, buy plants that look healthy or rhizomes that look plump and not shriveled. For online and catalog orders, always review any guarantees, especially when buying established plants.