Canna hybrids are the most commonly grown garden plants.  They are herbaceous perennials in the Cannaceae family that is most closely related to  ginger, banana, and bird of paradise.  The parentage of the hybrids includes C. glauca, C. speciosa, C. iridifolia, C. warscewiczii, and C. flaccida.  The result of various crosses has produced numerous cultivars that vary most significantly in height, foliage color, and flower color.  Height varies from 1.5′ to 9′, leaf color from green to bronze, purplish and variegated,  and flower color from red, to yellow, cream, orange and pink.  Cannas are excellent plants for the border although in most climates they have to be lifted after the first frost and stored for the winter.  They  are good in containers and add a tropical look any garden or patio.  The genus name Canna comes from the Greek word kanna meaning reed.  The specific epithet generalis is the Latin word for normal; hortensis  is the Latin word meaning pertaining to the garden.  See below for a  list of some of  some of the outstanding cultivars.

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Red, pink, yellow, cream, orange depending on cultivar from summer to fall depending on the cultivar

Size: 1.5-9′ H x 1.3-3′ W

Light:Full sun

Soil: Fertile, consistently moist, well-rained, although some cultivars tolerate more water than other.

Hardiness: Zones 7-10 depending on the cultivar

Care: Fertilize; deadhead

Pests and Diseases: Slugs, snails

Propagation: Division

Companion Plants:Banana, elephant ear, angel’s trumpet

Outstanding Selections:

Giants (6-9′)

‘Red King Humbert’ (scarlet flowers; reddish leaves)

‘City of Portland’ (rose pink flowers; green leaves)

“The President’ (red flowers; green leaves)

‘Pretoria’ (orange flowers; yellow and green striped leaves)


Semi-dwarf (3-5′)

‘The Ambassador (carmine flowers; bronze leaves)

‘Black Knight’ (dark red flowers; bronze leaves)

‘Durban’ (orange flowers; burgundy, purple, orange, yellow and green striped leaves)

Richard Wallace’ (lemon yellow flowers; green leaves)

‘Wyoming’ (orange flowers; bronze leaves)


Dwarf (less than 3′)

‘Lucifer’ (red and yellow flowers;  green leaves)

‘Eureka’ (creamy white flowers; green leaves)

‘Cupid’ creamy pink flowers; green leaves)

‘Rosever’ (deep rose flowers; reddish stems and leaves)


By Karen