Growing Cannas


Cannas add a tropical touch to flower gardens. They can, however, overwhelm the plants they are growing near. Canna flowers are brightly colored red, apricot, orange and yellow ,while the foliage can be striped orange or purple or bronze or solid purple, bronze or green. Grow cannas among plants with vividly colored flowers like impatiens and begonias for the best effect. Cannas require well drained soil in full sun.

Step 1

Choose canna rhizomes that are firm to the touch with four or five "eyes" or buds per rhizome.

Step 2

Plant cannas outdoors when all threat of frost has passed. Choose a spot that receives full sun will well drained soil.

Step 3

Mix compost into the top 6 to 8 inches of soil. Soil should be fluffy and light with no large clumps.

Step 4

Dig a hole 2 to 3 inches deep, spacing cannas 18 to 24 inches apart. Place the rhizome in the hole with the eyes up; cover with soil.

Step 5

Water the canna well. Keep the soil moist not soggy. Allow the top 1/2 to 1 inch of soil to dry out slightly before watering again.

Step 6

Wait until growth emerges, then spread 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch around the new growth and over the rhizome.

Step 7

Remove spent flower stems to keep the canna plant tidy.

Step 8

Allow fall frost to kill the canna foliage. Lift the rhizome and shake off loose dirt. Place the rhizome in a plastic bag and pack it loosely with damp peat moss. Fold the top of the plastic bag over, do not seal the bag, and store in a cool, dark spot where temperatures will not drop below freezing.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you don't want to lift bulbs in the fall you can cover the bulb with 3 to 4 inches of straw or mulch. However, even with this protection, in cold wet areas, canna bulbs will rot.

Things You'll Need

  • Canna rhizomes
  • Compost
  • Shovel
  • Organic mulch like shredded bark
  • Pruning shears or scissors
  • Peat moss
  • Plastic storage bag


  • Taylor's Master Guide to Gardening; Houghton Mifflin Company; 1994
  • The Garden Primer; Barbara Damrosch; 1988
Keywords: How to grow cannas, Growing cannas, Cannas