How to Germinate Canna Seeds


The canna is a tropical flowering plant sometimes called a Canna Lily, although it is not related to the lily family. The canna blooms from mid-summer to fall with large red and orange flowers on tall stalks. The most common varieties grown from seed include the Tropical Rose, Tropical Salmon and Tropical Yellow. Seeds should be started eight to 10 weeks before the last frost. The canna is hardy in USDA zones 8 to 12.

Step 1

Scarify the canna seed. This process entails making a small hole in the seed jacket so that water can get to the seed. You can do this a number of ways. One method is to use sandpaper to scrape away a small piece of the jacket. You can also use baby or pet nail clippers. Just nip a small portion until you can see the white seed beneath the jacket.

Step 2

Soak the canna seeds overnight in water.

Step 3

Pour the vermiculite into the seed tray and press it down so that the surface is 3/4 inch from the top of the tray. Plant the seeds 1/4 inch deep and cover with the planting medium. Use a misting bottle to soak the soil.

Step 4

Place the seed tray in an area that has a room temperature of 65 to 70 degrees F, and make sure the soil stays moist. The seeds should germinate in a week to 10 days.

Step 5

Transplant the canna sprouts when they reach 5 inches in height. Carefully remove them from the vermiculite in the seeding tray and plant them in small pots filled with a mixture of moist potting soil and compost.

Step 6

Place the pot in a sunny location and don't let the soil dry out. It should be moist but not soggy.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper or small nail clippers
  • Water
  • Seed starting tray
  • Vermiculite
  • Misting bottle
  • Small planting pots
  • Potting soil
  • Compost


  • Texas A&M University
  • University of Florida Extension

Who Can Help

  • Iowa State University Extension
Keywords: growing canna from seed, canna lilies, seed germination

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.