Canna plants are showy, tropical flowers with huge leaves and large, brightly colored blooms that perch on top of tall stalks. Although they appear related to lilies, the are a completely different flower. In cold climates, cannas are annuals whose rhizomes must be dug up and stored each winter to protect from frost. In warm climates, they are perennials that can quickly spread. Easy to plant and grow, they are perfect for beginning gardeners.
Select a planting site that will help your cannas thrive and bloom profusely. These plants love sunlight, so make sure your location gets at least six hours of sun per day. They also like rich, moist soil, so do not plant your cannas in any dry or hard soil. If you do have clay soil, loosen it to a depth of 12 inches, then amend it with sand and some organic mulch (just work it into the top four inches of soil with a trowel).
Wait until any danger of a spring frost has passed before planting. Dig a hole between four and six inches deep, making sure it is wide enough for the rhizome to lay horizontally. Place the rhizome in the hole, then back-fill the hole with the removed soil.
Do not worry about which way is "up" on the rhizome. If you do see some sprouting on the rhizome, however, go ahead and put the sprouts facing up. Tamp the dirt down gently with your feet or hands. This will remove any air pockets that might dry out the rhizome, which is the root of the plant.
Plant each rhizome between one and four feet apart. The taller the variety, the further apart the rhizomes should be planted. Immediately water the cannas' rhizomes after planting them.
Canna plants like continually moist soil, so make you water them frequently, especially during long, hot periods. Add a two-inch layer of mulch around the plants after they sprout to help the ground retain moisture. Because the flower stalks are so tall, it might be necessary to stake them in order to help them remain upright and keep them from breaking. Remove the flowers after they have wilted. In the fall, after the first frost, cut the plants back to six inches tall.