Canna Lily Information


Canna lily is a classic garden plant that is used for its colorful flowers and interesting foliage. It is also a staple food source for many people around the world.

Canna lily. image by Image by, courtesy of Shirl


Most of the cannas available today are hybrids created for their foliage, cold tolerance and flower color. Botanists estimate there are about 10 different species, but some suggest the number is higher.

Canna leaf. image by Image by, courtesy of tanakawho

Landscape Uses

Cannas are perfect for borders or living screens. They blend well with other taller plants and the foliage gives the garden a tropical look.


In the garden, canna lilies like well-draining soil, full sun and lots of water. Some cannas can be planted in a pond with the leaves above the waterline. Most are hardy to Zone 8.


Flower colors are red, orange and yellow or a combination of those colors. The flower petals are not true petals but modified stamens and pistils, the reproductive organs.


The rhizomes of Canna indica are edible and are the source of arrowroot. Some African tribes use canna seeds to make musical instruments out of hollow gourds. In 17th-century Spain, the seeds were used to make rosaries.


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Who Can Help

  • Pacific Bulb Society
Keywords: arrow root, pond lily, Canna indica

About this Author

Brian Albert has been in the publishing industry since 1999. He is an expert in horticulture, with a focus on aquatics and tropical plants like orchids. He has successfully run an aquatic plant business for over five years. Albert's writing experience includes the Greater Portland Aquarium Society newsletter and politics coverage for a variety of online journals.