How to Grow Red Velvet Canna Lily


The red velvet canna lily sports striking red blossoms that emerge from the center of attractive chocolate and olive green leaves. Hummingbirds love to eat its nectar, and many gardeners cherish it in their summer flowerbeds. If you live in USDA climate zone 8 through 12 (Dallas to Honolulu), you can grow this flowering perennial year-round. If your winters are colder, you can grow it in a container, which you can move to a protected, warmer area before your first frost.

Step 1

Dig compost into the planting area. Spread 2 to 4 inches of compost on the soil surface and then mix it in with the soil. If you will be planting your red velvet canna in a container, use a rich potting soil that contains some sand.

Step 2

Dig as many holes as you need to, depending on the number of Red Velvet rhizomes you plan to plant. Allow about 1 foot between planting holes. Make sure each hole is 3 inches deeper than the rhizome is long and then plant each rhizome with its "eyes" facing upward.

Step 3

Fill your planting hole with the soil mixture you dug out and then pat it down firmly. Keep the planting area moist until your rhizome(s) begin to sprout, and continue to water it frequently to encourage blooming.

Step 4

Fertilize your red velvet canna once each month with a fertilizer having an N-P-K ratio of 5-10-5. Follow package instructions.

Step 5

Snip off flowers as they finish blooming to encourage more flower stalks to form. Cut the stem down as far as the lowest flowering node and not all the way to the base of the plant.

Tips and Warnings

  • Be careful not to over fertilize red velvet canna. Because this plant is a hybrid variety, the seeds it produces will not produce "true to type" offspring.

Things You'll Need

  • Red velvet rhizome(s)
  • Sunny location
  • Large decorative pot with drainage hole (optional)
  • Potting soil with some sand (optional for containers)
  • Compost
  • Shovel
  • 5-10-5 fertilizer
  • Clippers or garden shears


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  • DIY Chatroom
Keywords: red velvet, canna lily, bulbs rhizomes

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hiā€˜iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Barbara wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, and She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.