How to Transplant Canna Lilies From Pots


Canna lilies, or cannas, aren't actually lilies at all---they're tropical flowering perennials more closely related to banana and ginger plants. Cannas have solid or variegated green leaves with large, fragrant flowers that come in an assortment of colors. They can grow to heights of two to 10 feet, depending upon the canna lily variety, and once fully grown can quickly become a colorful focus in any garden landscape. Canna lilies can be successfully grown by transplanting existing plants from their pots directly into the garden.

Step 1

In the spring, after the danger of frost has passed, dig holes to plant canna lilies. Select locations in the garden that receive full sun or partial shade and has fertile, well-drained soil. Holes should be placed one to two feet apart, depending on the maturity size of the canna lily cultivar.

Step 2

Dislodge canna lily plants from their pots. Trim back foliage to two to three inches tall.

Step 3

Split canna lily roots, called rhizomes, if necessary. Each rhizome contains growth points, or eyes, in various places along the root. Split rhizomes with a sharp knife or shovel so that there are at least three eyes per root section.

Step 4

Plant the new canna rhizomes in garden holes, and cover with two to three inches of topsoil.

Step 5

Water the canna lilies liberally.

Step 6

Apply a layer of organic mulch around the canna lilies after new growth appears. This step will help the plants retain moisture and prevent weeds from growing.

Tips and Warnings

  • Canna lilies prefer well-drained, slightly acidic to neutral pH soil. Alkaline soil conditions are not tolerated by the plants, so test the soil and add nutrients if necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden shovel
  • Sharp knife
  • Topsoil
  • Organic mulch


  • Kessler, Raymond J. Canna Lilies for Alabama Gardens. Alabama Cooperative Extension System, 2009 (Accessed Nov. 4, 2009).
  • Tjia, B. and R. J. Black. Cannas for the Florida Landscape. University of Florida IFAS Extension, 2009 (Accessed Nov. 4, 2009).

Who Can Help

  • Calla and Canna Lilies
Keywords: transplant canna lilies, canna lilies, canna lily

About this Author

Barbara Biehler is a freelance writer who has written articles for and eHow, as well as online specialty courses for She has a B.A. in English from the University of Central Florida, and over 15 years experience in business development, sales, and marketing. An avid gardener, cook, and voracious reader, Barbara resides with her family near Nashville, Tennessee.