Host: Gary Bachman, Ornamental Horticulture Specialist
Canna lilies are valued for their large tropical foliage and showy flowers today on southern Gardening.
Many gardeners are familiar with the big cannas that have to be grown in the back of the planting bed. With their upright growth habit canna have an almost statuesque presence in the landscape. But the plant breeders have been at it again, developing selections that have dwarf characteristics. At 16 to 24 inches tall, these canna demand to be planted right up front. A great example is the Tropical canna series, which typically has flowers that are about 3 to 4 inches across. The beautiful flowers are soft and form on a spike held high above the wide lush foliage. Tropical Rose is an All-America Selections winner and has soft rose blooms. As the first flowers mature another flower spike will begin to grow and soon open. Tropical Rose will produce flower spikes all summer for reliable color in your garden. Other colors include Red and Yellow. There is even a selection called Bronze Scarlet. This plant features bold spikes of brilliant scarlet blooms speckled with gold flecks and stunning deep burgundy leaves having hints of coppery bronze all summer season.
South Pacific Scarlet is a 2013 All-America Selections winner. This plant has 4 inch flowers that are a delicious blend of scarlet shades. You can prolong the bloom period of these dwarf canna through the summer by deadheading. Removing the withering flower stem will allow the shoot below to develop and flower.
It’s interesting that these dwarf cannas are not produced from rhizomes, but grown from seed. This means better branching and more flowers for your landscape. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.