Cannas are – circle all that apply – colorful, tropical, large-flowered, bold, brash, bright, sometimes gaudy, glorious, short or tall, a glorious garden plant.
I hope you circled them all, because cannas are all the above! Plus very delightful and very variable.
Cannas in the Southwest
If you have an entirely desert landscape, cannas won’t look right in your landscape. But – if you are like most of us in the Southwest – you have an oasis zone in your low-water landscape (we used to call ’em xeriscapes), thus cannas will fit right in. Cannas also grow well in a water garden. So yes – you can grow cannas in the Southwest.
The broad flat leaves of cannas are typically solid green but some cultivars have maroon, bronzy, or even enchantingly variegated (striped) leaves. Also fascinating to behold is how the leaves emerge. They grow out of a stem in a long tapering roll and once fully grown they will unfurl.
While the leaves are wonderfully striking, the flowers are stunning. Almost like a living tiki torch, the flame colored flowers appear on a long lasting spike. Individual flowers sequentially grow in an upwards spiral in vivid hues of crimson, scarlet, golden, yellow, orange, or a sunrise blend of all of these colors.
Grow Colorful Cannas
Here in the Southwest, cannas grow best in full sun to afternoon shade. Provide ample water. Plant in well-drained rich to slightly sandy soil. Cannas do well in containers, but be sure to select the right pot for the final size of the variety you have. The large leaves can act like a sail and pot that is too small can tip over on a windy day.
I grow cannas for their colorful flowers, for their lush leaves, and because – in the summer at least – they help shade the fish in my water garden!
Please share your comments below. Let me know what you need help growing in the Southwest.
Free for Spring 2020 – PDF guide to the Top Ten Pollinator Plants for the Southwest
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