Cannas suggest the tropics with large colorful foliage and flowers. The blooms are eye-catching in bright shades of red, orange or yellow. The leaves, which can grow up to 6 feet tall, may be solid or variegated green, gold, maroon, bronze and cream. Cannas are perennial plants in Zones 8 and higher. They are grown as annuals in colder areas, or the thick rhizomes can be dug up and stored in a cool dark place during the winter. Cannas are usually propagated by dividing the rhizomes, but they can also be grown from seeds.
Planting Seeds Outside
Buy Canna seeds from a reliable source. See Resources for some online suppliers of Canna seeds. Store the seeds in a cool, dry place until you are ready to plant them.
Plant Canna seeds outside after the predicted date of the last frost. Choose a location with well-drained soil in full sun. Work organic matter into the soil with a gardening fork.
Nick the hard surface of each seed with a knife or file. Soak the seeds for 24 hours in warm water.
Place the seeds on the prepared soil 12 to 24 inches apart. Cover the seeds lightly with soil and water thoroughly with a watering can or water hose.
Planting Seeds Inside
Buy and store seeds as outlined in Step 1 of Planting Seeds Outside. Sow Canna seeds inside in mid to late February. Nick the hard surface of each seed with a knife or file. Soak the seeds for 24 hours in warm water.
Fill small pots or multi-cell trays with seed starting soil in mid to late February. Place a seed on the soil in each pot or cell. Lightly cover each seed with more soil and water well with a watering can.
Transplant each seedling into a larger pot when the seedlings are large enough to handle. Fill a larger pot halfway with potting soil. Set a plant in the pot and add more soil around the root ball of the plant. Firm the soil with your fingertips. Do not mound the soil up around the stem of the plant. Water well with a watering can or water hose.
Move the plants outside after the last predicted date of frost. Leave the plants in the shade for a week to harden off.
Choose a location with well-drained soil in full sun. Work organic matter into the soil with a gardening fork. Use a trowel to dig a hole deep and wide enough for the root ball of a plant. Set the plant in the hole and use your hand to push the soil into the hole around the root ball. Tamp the soil down firmly with your hand. Do not mound the soil up around the stem of the plant. Water thoroughly with a watering can or water hose.
About this Author
Melody Lee worked as a newspaper reporter, copywriter and editor for 5 years. In addition, she has edited magazine articles and books. Lee holds a degree in landscape design and is a Florida master gardener. She has more than 25 years of gardening experience, which includes working at nurseries and greenhouses.