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Plant type: Herbaceous perennial in warmer climates
Hardiness: USDA Zones 6b (with protection) to 11
Valued for its wide range of foliage and flower colors, this well-loved plant adds a colorful, tropical flair to any garden but also bold texture and height. Foliage colors range from solid greens to blacks to variegations combining a wide range of sizzling hot colors, including red, pink, yellow and orange. Flower colors range from white, red, orange, yellow, pink and bicolors. Typically blooms from July to October. Plant size is two to six feet tall and wide, depending on cultivar; there are dwarf and giant cannas as well. Treat as an herbaceous perennial in warmer climates. Dig rhizomes for overwintering indoors in USDA Zones 3 to 6.
How to use it: In masses, as a specimen plant, or in containers. Can be used in sunken pots in water features, such as ponds or in aquatic containers. With its variation of colors and big, bold foliage, Canna is a perfect complement to fine-textured plants, such as ornamental grasses (including hardy sugar cane, Saccharum arundinaceum).
Culture: Prefers full sun (if adequate moisture is provided) to part sun; must get at least six hours of direct sunlight. Plants that do not bloom heavily or at all may not be getting the right amount of sunlight. Grow in a moist to wet soil; can also be submerged at the soil level in aquatic plantings and containers. Heavy feeders. If using an aquatic fertilizer, check for fertilizer rates before application. For added winter protection, mulch plants in Zones 6 to 7. Must dig rhizomes in late fall in areas with winters where temperatures are consistently below 0 degrees. Store rhizomes in sand or peat in a cool, dry location for the winter. Propagated by division. No serious pest or disease problems; borers, slugs and caterpillars may be a problem.
Special Notes:.Valued for its colorful tropical foliage and blooms, verticality in the landscape, and ability to grow on land and in water. Attracts hummingbirds.
Pete Wallenborn shares some of his favorite plants in his sloped southeastern garden.