Cannas are fiery, vivid flowering plants with colorful foliage that offer a pop of color to your home garden. Red canna varieties, like all cannas, are herbaceous perennials well-suited for use in the home landscape. Keep in mind when adding this exotic plant to your gardening space that species like Canna indica attract bats and hummingbirds.
Red cannas have been cultivated within the Western hemisphere for over 400 years, and their initial hybridization occurred in France in 1848. With a burst in popularity during the Victorian era, enthusiasts spread from France to the U.S., India, Hungary, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom, according to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
Red cannas are reed-like perennial flowers with a rapid growth rate and a height of 2 to 10 feet. With an exotic look, red cannas display red petal-like sepals surrounding the true flower with foliage that resembles leaves of a banana plant, according to the Iowa State University Extension. Foliage colors include solid or variegated green, burgundy and bronze.
Red cannas add color and interesting shape to a gardening space while bringing the eye upward along the long, reed-like stems. Cannas are well-suited to both the home garden as well as containers. Limit containers to one to two plants per pot. Avoid specimen planting and instead, choose red cannas for border combinations, mass planting and give special consideration to planting near finer ornamental plants for a strong contrast, according to the Iowa State University Extension.
Cannas come in warm colors like yellows, oranges and reds. To ensure you have selected red cannas, become familiar with cultivars that displays red flowers along with the desired height and foliage color. Options include, but are not limited to, Ace of Spades reaching a height of 3 to 5 feet with green foliage, Empire growing to 3 feet in height with compact green foliage, and India Prince, which displays a scarlet-hued red flower with a height of 3 to 4 feet and deep green, maroon-bordered foliage, according to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
Red cannas prefer warm temperatures and have a need for substantial moisture. Grow red cannas in areas that provide full sun though they will tolerate partial shade. Optimal soil conditions include well-drained, loam soil high in organic content with a neutral to slightly acid pH. Keep soil consistently moist with regular watering and consider the addition of a 2-to-4-inch layer of organic mulch, like compost, for water retention. Grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 8 to 12, according to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.