How to Grow Canna Lilies

Views: 16696 | Last Update: 2009-07-30
How to Grow Canna Lilies - Provided by eHow
Canna lilies, native to Mexico, require full hot sun, well-drained soil and a greenhouse in the winter. Avoid letting the canna lily sit in moisture for too long with helpful tips from a sustainable gardener in this free video on growing flowers. View Video Transcript

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Yolanda Vanveen

Video Transcript

Hi this is Yolanda Vanveen from VanveenBulbs.com and in this segment I'm going to talk about how to grow Canna Lilies. Now canna lilies are native to Mexico. And so they really want full hot blazing sun and they can handle wet conditions in the summertime. But if they're wet in the winter and they turn into an ice cube or you live in a cold climate where it even gets below 40 in the winter time they a lot of times will rot out if they're too wet. So you've got to remember they're from really, really hot Mexico and they don't want much but they do want hot sun and a lot of good composted organic soil. But yet they'll do really well in sand, too. They're pretty tough. Now the canna lily bulb is kind of a tuber as well so they go dormant either in the summer in the heat naturally where they don't get any water, they'll die to the ground and then they'll shoot up greenery in the rain in the fall. Or if you live in the northwest or a really milder climate or colder climate you can put them out in the late spring and then have them come up to bloom summer through fall. So there's really no up and down. They come out of the tips. So the growth comes usually out of all the ends. So whatever ends they are, either up and down or sideways it really doesn't matter. If you see any growth that would be the side that would go up. But they'll work their way up. And I like to plant them about three inches deep. So I still cover part of that stem. So when I'm planting a canna I just fill the container about 2/3 the way full. A lot of times I'll put gravel on the bottom too, so that the dirt doesn't just flush out. And then my theory with most plants is everyone else has spread out the roots. But they've really got to be crowded to bloom well on the cannas and agapanthas and a lot of other rooted stuff. So I do the opposite. I actually kind of mound up the roots a bit so that it feels like it's a little more contained and it's a little more mature and it'll grow quicker and have more blooms on it if it's more crowded. So you just want to cover it up about two to three inches above the bulb. And you want to put that in full hot sun. And you want to make sure that it doesn't get too cold. If it freezes too hard you'll lose the foliage. And they can survive the winter pretty well as long as they have good drainage and it doesn't go below about 25 degrees. The first year that I've ever lost my cannas outside was this last winter because it got below 15 degrees here in the northwest. But I've never lost them before that. And if they're dry they can handle cold rather better than if they're too wet. So keep that container dry in the winter. Even if you live in a warm climate put it against the eaves so that it doesn't stay too wet and never freezes and can rot out when it's dormant. Now there's lots of different conditions that you can grow your canna lilies in and they make a great pond plant whether you live in a warm or a cold climate. Let me show you. So these cannas are just in pots. I've got gravel on the bottom and gravel on the top so the dirt doesn't come right out. And that seems to work really well. And I just keep adding water to the water here. And then I want to make sure it's got full hot sun for most of the day. And it's sitting right in water. Now I started them in pots out of the water first. I found that works better than putting them right in the water directly with the bulbs. Get the bulbs going first with some sign of greenery before you put it in the water. And because we have cold winters if I left it wet in that pot I would lose them for sure. So as soon as it starts freezing at night and they start looking trashy and they're getting brown, I'm going to chop them off, take them out of the pond, let them dry out and I'm just going to leave them dry in the greenhouse over the winter. So cannas do great in raised beds as well. They love the heat. Right there it's surrounded by gravel. I've got this new bed going and some Cleopatra cannas with the burgundy and green foliage. I just love them. And as long as they're in that hot sun and I give them enough water, because if they dry out too much I'll lose them too as a new plant. You don't want to let them dry out too much because then their bulb will just dry right out and you'll lose them. But once they make it through that first summer, and I'm going to mulch them real well this fall. And half of the pink or the purple ones survived over the winter. I did lose some of them but considering we got down to 15 degrees I'm amazed that some of them wintered over right there. Cannas have a long and very, very shady history. And you can either love them or hate them but personally I think they're one of the joys of my garden.