Special Collection: Cannas

Cannas are currently undergoing a new wave of popularity now that warm colours and bold foliage are back in vogue.  They are approaching their Victorian era popularity. Modern breeders have been releasing some wonderful cultivars and today there are more than 2000 cultivars to choose from. Every gardener should grow at least one Canna. 

The genus is native to semi-tropical and tropical parts of North and South America. Their native range extends from North Carolina south to Argentina and includes the Caribbean islands.

Although used for thousands of years as a food crop, Cannas were not well-known to European botanists until the 1500s. By 1576 Cannas were cultivated in gardens in several European countries. However, they only became widely popular as ornamental plants in the Victorian era (mid to late 1800's). Hundreds of cultivars were created between the 1860's and the 1910's with shorter habits and novel flower forms and colours. Unfortunately, most of these cultivars were lost because European gardeners stopped growing Canna during the upheaval from World War I through World War II. Afterwards they were subject to the fickle spells of “Fashion” and only now are they coming back into vogue.

Two modern common names for Canna are 'Arrowroot' (for its high quality starch) and 'Indian Shot' referring to the very hard, pea-like seeds of that have been used as shotgun pellets in India.

Canna varieties grow to between a height of 75-150cm (18" - 5'), but a few like Canna iridiflora may reach 3m (10') or more. The large, banana-like foliage may be green, bronze-burgundy, or variegated in a striped or marbled pattern. If you want a bright, happy, bold garden but you don't live in the tropics, think about planting cannas.

Cannas can be grown anywhere in South Africa.  However in areas where heavy frost occurs, the rhizomes (with between 4 and 7 eyes) should be lifted and stored in dry sawdust at a temperature no higher than 10°C (50°F) or mulched very well in situ until all danger of frost is past.  Most cannas like a sunny position. Off-white flowering varieties prefer dappled shade. They grow well in moist soil enriched with organic matter. Fertilise in late winter with a general fertiliser. Cannas respond well to applications of well-rotted cow manure or compost. Remove spent flower heads to maintain an attractive display. Water AT LEAST once a week. At the end of the flowering season, cut old stems down to within 2cm (1") of the ground. Lift and divide the clumps every three years.

Cannas are valuable as a food source because their rhizomes contain a high quality starch. Canna starch has the largest starch granule size in the plant kingdom and is valuable as an industrial starch in processed foods because it has a low viscosity and does not break down during cooking and freezing.

 

Canna - Black knight

Description: Lovely canna with bright red flowers and large deep red / maroon leaves. Robust

Average height: 200cm
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Canna - Brolins red

Description: A gorgeous new canna with bright red flowers. Short!

Average height: 80cm
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Canna - Catriona

Description: A medium sized canna with red stems and red veining in leaves. Dark fleshy coloured salmon pink flowers in summer. Flowers well

Average height: 110cm
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Canna - Cerise

Description: A lovely canna with cerise pink flowers and dark leaves.

Average height: 150cm
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Canna - Cleopatra

Description: What a picture. Spotted mottled red and yellow flowers. Green foliage sometimes with purple streaks.

Average height: 160cm
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R50.00  |  This item is currently out of stock.

Canna - Colibri

Description: A robust grower with large creamy yellow flowers with pink spots. Also sometimes called Confetti. Always attracts attention.

Average height: 120cm
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Canna - Coral Cloud

Description: A rhizomatous exotic perennial with muted coral flowers.

Average height: 160cm
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Canna - Giant red

Description: A tall floriferous canna with bright red flowers. It multiplies well.

Average height: 160cm
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Canna - Golden glory

Description: A lovely canna with large paddle shaped green leaves. Orange centred yellow flowers from summer to autumn.

Average height: 130cm
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Canna - Italia

Description: A lovely floriferous canna with red centred yellow flowers. Has performed and multiplied well. (Incorrectly named Sunset Glory)

Average height: 120cm
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Canna - King of Siam

Description: Also known as Striped Beauty. Lovely slim green and white striped leaves with yellow flowers. Very special.

Average height: 130cm
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Canna - Lemon Cream

Description: A real beauty. Cream flowers with a pink markings in the centre.

Average height: 200cm
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Canna - Louis Cottin

Description: A compact canna with large paddle shaped maroon leaves. Yellow fading to peach flowers from summer to autumn.

Average height: 75cm
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Canna - Moden angel

Description: A tall canna with large paddle shaped maroon leaves. Yellow fading to peach flowers from summer to autumn. A tall form of Louis Cottin.

Average height: 150cm
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Canna - Pretty Butterfly

Description: A well shaped well sized perennial with DARK pink flowers.

Average height: 200cm
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Canna - Queen Charlotte

Description: A striking canna with yellow edged red flowers. (Incorrectly named Fiesta)

Average height: 120cm
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R50.00  |  This item is currently out of stock.

Canna - Scarlett

Description: A rhizomatous exotic perennial with large paddle shaped green leaves. Vermillion red flower.

Average height: 140cm
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Canna - Stuttgart

Description: A shade loving rhizomatous exotic perennial. Green leaves with broad white variegation. Small apricot flowers in summer.

Average height: 220m
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R75.00  |   Buy now

Canna - Sunshine Yellow

Description: A shorter form canna with bright yellow flowers. Very nice.

Average height: 150cm
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Canna - Tali

Description: New. A rhizomatous exotic perennial. Dark maroon paddle shaped leaves, reddish orange flowers from summer - autumn. Incorrectly named - The Diva

Average height: 90cm
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Canna glauca - Panache

Description: Rhizomatous exotic perennial, large paddle shape leaves, Cream flushed pink flowers from summer to autumn.

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Canna iridiflora

Description: An upright rhizomatous exotic perennial with broad dark bluish green leaves. Trumpet shaped cerise pink flowers. Lovely at the back of a border.

Average height: 2.5m
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