Department of Horticulture New York State Horticulture Study Guide for Youth 4-H Logo


Flowers &
Indoor Plants

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Cornell University

Canna generalis
(can-nah jen-er-al-is)

Click on thumbnails for larger image.

What about it?

Canna is a member of the Banana family. This should be an indication of its tropical origins and tropical needs. Canna will grow to a height of 4 feet and blossoms in the early to mid-summer with bright pink, red, or orange flowers in a terminal raceme. Canna's foliage is large and straight with a handsome green or bronze color.

What is it used for?

Cannas are treated as annuals in the northern states. They are often used as a decoration for parks.

Where does it grow? How do we grow it?

Cannas need full sun and a great deal of water. The soil should be rich and able to retain applied water. Canvas are extremely susceptible to frost and should not be put outdoors while there is any threat of frosting. They are large plants and should be spaced 18-24 inches apart when planting. Remove the canna roots from the soil each fall and store in a cool, dry place.

What are its primary problems?

Cannas have few enemies. Occasionally a hungry leaf-eating insect will take a nibble, but this is nothing to become alarmed about. Bacterial bud-rot disease may also be a problem.

How do we propagate it?

A canna plant is often started by division of the root. Occasionally they can be started from seeds.

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Copyright, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University.