Monday, February 21, 2011


Cannas are perennials which grow from thick underground roots (or rhizomes). The flowers grow up through tightly furled leaf bases or 'false stems'. Modern canna hybrids come in four different sizes: pixie (45cm-60cm), dwarf (60cm-100cm), medium (1m-1.5m) and tall (1.5m-2m). They come in all colours except blue, green and black. The foliage may be green, blue-green, purple, burgundy, bronze or striped.

Most cannas like a sunny position, but off-white flowering varieties prefer dappled shade. They grow well in moist soil enriched with organic matter such as compost. Fertilise in late winter with a mixture of four parts blood and bone and one part sulfate of potash. Water well before and after fertilising. Cannas also respond well to applications of well-rotted cow manure.Keep plants mulched and water well, particularly during dry spells. Remove spent flower heads to maintain an attractive display. Do not cut off more than about 15cm (6"), as new flowers will be forming lower down the stem. At the end of the flowering season, cut old stems down to within 2cm (1") of the ground. Leave new young shoots - these will flower early next season. Lift and divide the clumps every three years.

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