How to Plant Canna Lily Bulbs


Canna lilies are large plants with bright colored flowers and broad, flat leaves. The plants, which prefer tropical climates but do well in most temperate climates, are native to southern parts of the United States and northern Argentina. They thrive in well-drained soil that receives at least six hours of sunlight every day. The easy-care plant is not typically susceptible to pests.

Step 1

Choose a highly visible location--canna lilies are bold, showy plants--that provides the plants with direct sun, well-draining soil and room to grow (cannas can grow as tall as 10 feet). Bulbs should be planted in late spring or when the soil begins to warm.

Step 2

Plot the placement of the bulbs in the planting area. Dwarf-variety bulbs should be spaced a foot apart. Bulbs for larger varieties should be planted at least 2 feet apart.

Step 3

Dig a hole, using the trowel, that is 4 to 6 inches deep and wide enough for the bulb to fit. Place the canna lily bulb into the hole with the eye or shoot of the bulb facing upward. Cover with an all-purpose potting soil. Canna lilies will grow well in nearly any type of soil.

Step 4

Soak the soil after planting the bulbs and then give the bulbs about an inch of water daily until growth emerges from the soil. Cut back watering frequency to twice a week, giving about an inch of water each time to keep the soil moist.

Step 5

Apply a 3-inch layer of mulch at the base of the flowers to hold moisture and prevent weeds.

Step 6

Fertilize canna lily plants twice a year with a 10-10-10 fertilizer: early spring and late summer. Follow fertilizer instructions for best results. Low-nitrogen fertilizers work well because they encourage flower production. High-nitrogen fertilizers produce lush, green plants but very few blooms.

Step 7

Remove any leaves that begin to yellow. You can cut the flowers as they bloom, leaving only the thick, green foliage, without harming the plant. Remove the blooms as they die.

Things You'll Need

  • Trowel
  • Water
  • Fertilizer


  • Planting Canna Lilies
  • Easy to Grow Bulbs
Keywords: canna lilies, planting canna lilies, growing canna lilies

About this Author

Melanie Hammontree has a master's in business and is working on a master's in journalism from the University of Tennessee. She is a member of the Society for Porfessional Journalists and has been writing for five years. Works include publications with Hall County Crime Examiner, Player's Press and The Gainesville Times.