Canna Plants for UK gardens. Learn, buy, grow.

Canna indica Tropicanna Gold ('Mactro') (PBR)

Canna indica Tropicanna Gold (‘Mactro’) (PBR)

Cannas are amongst the most essential plants for the exotic border. They are big, brash and bright, giving a tropical look as they grow so ridiculously fast in just one season, especially if well fed and watered regularly. They can be found in sizes from small to very tall with leaves ranging from green to black and highly variegated, all topped with the most amazingly showy flowers…

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Boasting exotic, bold foliage, cannas are colourful perennials that will do well both in borders and containers. Their height and patterned leaves make them a gorgeous focal point on the patio or in your garden. They’re easy to grow, and can be planted out at the beginning of the summer, or after the final frost of spring.

Plants such as the Canna Tropicana will produce spectacular orange blooms throughout the summer months, whilst Canna Coccinea blooms with bright red flowers that give it its ‘bonfire lily’ nickname. If planted too late in the season, cannas may not flower – lack of water or low soil fertility may also be the cause of non-flowering.

For best results, cannas should be planted in an area with plenty of sunlight, but kept away from places that get direct sunlight for many hours at a time.  In colder areas, move plants to a frost-free area, or cover the soil in mulch to trap warmth and prevent losses. Foliage may die back over the winter but will regrow in the spring. Read more about over wintering cannas here

READ: How to take care of Canna plants through the winter

Types of Cannas

Cannas that prefer lots of water, such as the Canna Tropicana Gold, can be planted near a garden pond to maintain the lush, tropical look. 

Take a look at the wide selection of cannas to bring a year-round focal point to any garden. 

Cannas plants are aesthetically-pleasing, exotic and tropical plants that bloom flowers of different colours like yellow, red, orange, and white. They are tropical plants native to the South Americas and add a bold and bright effect to any surrounding they are grown. Also, they are usually featured in municipal environments, public parks, and gardens. 

Because of their big, bright, and brash flowers, they are often cultivated for ornamental purposes. A few species are grown agriculturally because their starchy rhizome can be eaten. 

Canna have stems that can extend 10 feet high,  from rhizomes under the ground. Commonly green or bronze leaves that are arranged asymmetrically and blooming various colours of 3-4 petalled flowers.

Types of Canna

Floral cultivars of cannas:

This is the most common type of canna found around parks, in gardens, and as municipal plantings. Their flowers and foliage are brightly coloured and beautiful. They may vary in height from 0.5m with an average height of 1.5m and larger plants reaching up to 2 meters. They cannot be grown from seeds because most garden cannas are sterile and those that grow from seeds are quite different from their parent plant. They can be propagated by division or from their rhizomes

Water cannas:

They are a type of floral cultivars that are grown with their roots submerged in water. Their average height is around 2 meters. They bloom brightly coloured spidery flowers that are all named after ships; ‘Erebus’ (pink), ‘Taney’, (orange)’Ra’ (yellow), ‘Endeavour’ (red). They are propagated by division because the seeds do not come true. These water cannas can be grown as garden plants and other cannas can be alternatively grown in water.

Canna Takii tropical series:

This group of floral cannas are bred in Takii Japan. They are grown from seed. They are typically short reaching a height of only 0.5m. The seeds are usually sold unscarified and germinate one week after planting. The best growing conditions are organically rich soil, lots of water, and a temperature of about 30 degrees celsius. There colour varieties of the flowers are yellow, red, rose, bronze, white, scarlet, and salmon.

Commonly Grown Canna plants in the UK

The most commonly grown canna plants are grown for their beautiful flowers and foliage. 

  • Canna Indica: Canna indica is popularly called Indian shot, or African arrowroot. Its green, hairless stems are erect and sturdy and extend to heights of 3-6 feet. Its large leaves spread up to 20-60 cm long and 10-30cm wide. At the base of the leaves, they clasp the stem in a sheath. The tip of the stem produces flowers 6-20, 5 petalled flowers that are either yellow, red, or both (yellow with red spots and vice versa). The cultivated plants bloom a wider variety of colours like orange and pink. This species reproduces by seed or the rhizome. Its seeds are used in making jewellery like bracelets and earrings and its rhizome is used to create starch in India. 
  • Canna Tropicanna: They are considered the most exotic species of the canna plant because of their bold and magnificent leaves and flowers. They are a gardener’s favourite choice because they thrive on low-maintenance and make a dramatic impact on the landscape. 

The traditional canna Tropicanna blooms tangerine-orange flowers and its foliage is striped pink, red, yellow, green, and gold. While Tropicanna Black blooms scarlet-orange flowers and has purple-black foliage and Tripocanna Gold has gold and green foliage and blooms soft orange flowers with yellow edges. As they grow, they form dense clumps of horizontal rhizomes that grow to reach 3-5 feet tall and that is why they can be used as tall borders. This species thrives best in boggy environments and when exposed to full sunlight.

Where to buy Cannas in the UK?