How to Take Care of Canna Lilies

Tropical-looking foliage and huge, iris-like flowers distinguish the rhizomatous perennial canna lily.

In addition to their long-lasting flowers and foliage, canna lilies are low-maintenance and easy to cultivate.

The color of the blossom might be red, yellow, or orange.

The color of the leaf can range from green to maroon, copper, or variegated, depending on the cultivar.

Check out our guide on planting canna lilies and our suggestions for taking care of them.

Growing Cannas

Aside from being an annual plant in colder climates, canna lilies have the ability to reseed themselves in the garden.

Place them in direct sunlight if you want them to thrive in hot climates. Partial shade is also tolerated by them.

Even though they prefer moist circumstances, cannas can grow in almost any well-draining soil that is either neutral or slightly acidic.

They also enjoy conditions that resemble a bog. Organic matter should also be present in the soil.

The most striking impact can be achieved by planting cannas in mixed borders or group plantings.

How to Plant Canna Lilies

Cannas can be grown in containers or in the ground, depending on where you live.

Wait until the danger of frost has gone before planting canna lilies in the spring.

It is recommended that cannas be spaced about a foot or two apart (31-61 cm).

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Most canna rhizomes can be planted horizontally, even if they don’t have a top or bottom.

A layer of 3 to 6 inches (8-15 cm) of soil should be placed over the rhizomes.

To keep the soil moist, be sure to water thoroughly and cover it with a thick layer of mulch.

When to Plant Cannas

Cannas are unable to survive in cold weather. In late spring or early summer, you can begin planting outdoors.

The temperature of the soil must be at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Start cannas in pots indoors or in a greenhouse before transplanting them outside at the correct time in short-season places.

  • As soon as the weather warms up a bit, we get to work. To find out when to plant tomatoes in your area, check out our Planting Calendar.
  • Dig a two-inch-deep hole and insert an old-fashioned mercury thermometer into your soil to measure the temperature. Soil temperature readings can be purchased at a nursery or hardware store.

Propagating Canna Lily

Canna lilies are usually grown from rhizomes rather than seeds because most of the newer kinds are hybrids.

The foliage and stem should be trimmed to six inches if you live in an area that experiences frost.

Dump the rhizomes and allow them to dry in a shady area.

Rinse off any remaining soil and place rhizomes in newspaper before storing till spring.

Make sure they aren’t decaying or drying out by checking on them regularly.

A single canna rhizome can expand enormously during the course of a single growing season, producing several branch structures.

It is possible to separate well-developed offshoots from the parent rhizome and grow new plants.

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You should look for shoots with at least two to three eyes.

Rhizomes can be dug out and stored for winter, or in the spring after they have been brought out of storage for the winter.

Potting and Repotting Canna Lily

Potted canna lilies require nutrient-rich potting soil and a well-ventilated environment.

It’s best to choose a pot with good drainage and add pebbles to the bottom.

The pot should be at least 12 inches in diameter and built of any medium as long as the drainage holes are plentiful.

It must also be strong, as these plants can reach heights of up to 30 feet. Four to five inches of rhizomes should be planted.


Canna lilies may often survive the winter in the ground in warmer climates.

Canna lilies should be brought indoors for the winter if temperatures are expected to fall below freezing for a long period of time.

Place the plant in a pot by gently lifting the cluster of rhizomes.

Place the pot somewhere cool and dry, like an unheated garage. As soon as the dirt is pliable enough, replant the lilies.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

The waxy coating on the leaves of canna plants repels water and keeps disease at bay.

Rust or bacterial blight can be a problem in poorly drained soils, where they are more susceptible.

Leaf rollers and caterpillars are two common pests, and slugs and snails are also known to eat leaves.

How to Get Canna Lily to Bloom

Make sure your canna lily gets full sun and a spring feeding of 5-10-5 fertilizer to keep it blooming all season long. The product’s label will tell you how much to use.

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As soon as the flowers begin to fade, give them a good watering and remove the spent blossoms.

To avoid stunting the plant’s growth, put the rhizomes no deeper than two to three inches into the earth.

If you put too many canna lilies together, they’ll compete for nutrition and produce fewer flowers.

When lilies become overcrowded, divide them every two or three years.

Common Problems With Canna Lily

In spite of the plant’s long-term viability in the garden, it is possible that it will experience certain difficulties.

For the most part, these are the options you’ll encounter.

Leaves Stuck Together or Covered in Black Droppings

In order to hide and feed, a tiny pest called a leaf roller gathers leaves together with its silky strands. To get rid of bugs, use a decent insecticide.

Holes in Leaves

Snails and slugs can be spotted by the holes they leave in the leaves. Use a horticultural oil to keep them at bay, or remove them by hand.

Curling Leaves

A sticky sap left behind by aphids can cause your plant’s leaves to curl up, making it look unappealing.

To get rid of more serious infestations, spray insecticide or blast them away with a water hose.

Fuzzy Mold

Botrytis blight has afflicted a plant that has fuzzy mold on it.

A fungicide can be used to eradicate this blight. The plant may have to be evicted if the infection is severe enough.

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