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Canna Fertilizer Care

By Jenny Harrington ; Updated September 21, 2017

Tropical canna plants are perennial in their native climate but are grown as annuals in most areas of the United States. Plant canna in borders or in beds to add more color to your landscaping. They have ornamental leaves that range in color from green to ruby, and some varieties have stripes or other variegation. The large, brightly colored flowers add additional interest to the plants. Proper fertilization ensures the canna continue to produce healthy foliage and bloom profusely throughout the warm summer months.

Prepare beds prior to planting in spring. Lay a 2-inch layer of fully composted manure over the bed, and work it to a 12-inch depth with a tiller to provide soil nutrition throughout the growing period.

Apply a third cup of nitrogen-rich fertilizer, such as a 12-4-8 formula, to each planting hole prior to sowing the canna rhizomes. Mix the fertilizer with the soil in the hole. This encourages the rhizomes to quickly take root and grow quickly.

Fertilize canna once monthly with a 5-percent nitrogen fertilizer. Apply 2 pounds of fertilizer per every 100 square feet of canna bed. Till it in between plants.

Fertilize container-grown canna with the same fertilizer types as bedding plants, but use a quarter of the amount of fertilizer per container, and apply it once every two weeks. Fertilizer nutrients wash out of container plants more quickly than they do from garden beds.


Things You Will Need

  • Compost
  • Tiller
  • Nitrogen-rich fertilizer


  • Water canna immediately after fertilizing so the nutrients from the fertilizer are instantly available for the roots to absorb.
  • Container-grown canna grow and bloom year-round, so they require fertilizing year-round.


  • Avoid getting fertilizer on the roots and leaves of the canna plants. The fertilizer may burn and damage them if it comes in direct contact.
  • Remove wilting flowers before they go to seed. Otherwise all the nutrients the plants take in will go to seed production instead of flower production.

About the Author


Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.