How to Care for a Cannas Plant


Although it is closely related to the banana and ginger, and sometimes called a lily, the canna is the only genus in its family. A tropical perennial plant, grown from rhizomes, the canna bears large flowers that bloom from mid-summer until first frost. This is the perfect plant for a tropical-themed garden.

Step 1

Plant your canna in an area that receives full sun, but is guarded from winds. Start by amending the soil. Dig into the soil at least 12 inches and turn it over to break up any large clods. Add a 3-inch layer of compost and mix it in well with the existing soil.

Step 2

Dig a hole 4 inches deep. Place the rhizome in the hole. Don't worry about planting it upside down as the canna will find its way to the surface, so just drop it in the hole and cover it with soil. If you are planting more than one rhizome, plant them at least one foot apart. Water thoroughly.

Step 3

Water the canna at least once a week to ensure that the soil stays moist. During particularly hot periods you may need to water more often. As the plant matures, add a 2-inch layer of mulch around the base to help keep the soil moist.

Step 4

Fertilize the canna monthly with a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10. Follow the label directions for the proper solution.

Step 5

Dig up the rhizome in autumn by first cutting the plant back to 1 inch. Carefully dig the rhizome out of the soil and allow it to dry. Store the rhizome in a box filled with peat moss. If you will be storing more than one rhizome, make sure that they aren't touching. Store in a cool area.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Canna rhizomes
  • Water
  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer, balanced, such as 10-10-10


  • Iowa State University
  • University of Florida

Who Can Help

  • Dutch Gardens
Keywords: growing canna, tropical plants, canna lilies

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.