How to Prune Cannas

Canna with one healthy bloom and one spent bloom. image by Lori Downing:


Cannas are sometimes referred to as canna lilies, but they aren't really lilies at all. They have striking, dark green foliage with white stripes and large flowers in a variety of colors including red, orange and pink. A tropical flower, they do well in containers and in mild climates. The flowers attract hummingbirds. Pruning your cannas encourages them to bloom continually throughout summer. Fall pruning prepares them for winter.

Step 1

Cut off each flower after it completes blooming, but before it goes to seed. Remove it beneath the flower head and above any additional buds or healthy blooms.

Step 2

Cut the entire flower stalk off at the base once all of the buds have opened and completed blooming. New stalks will grow and produce blooms once the old ones are removed.

Step 3

Inspect the plant every one or two weeks during the growing season and remove any dead or damaged leaves. Check for seed pods from faded blooms and remove them.

Step 4

Allow the foliage to die back naturally in autumn. Cut any remaining stalks to the ground and cut the yellowed foliage back to 2 inches high.

Tips and Warnings

  • Wash shears thoroughly after trimming to avoid the spread of disease.

Things You'll Need

  • Shears


  • Wildflower
  • University of Florida Extension
Keywords: canna lily care, pruning cannas, summer deadheading

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.

Photo by: Lori Downing: