Canna (Cannaceae), most commonly called, Canna Lily is not a true lily at all. Instead, it's closest relatives are the ginger and banana plants. This tropical or subtropical plant is native to the Americas' southern hemisphere to include the United States, Central America and Northern South America.
In the United states it is native and can be found east from southern South Carolina, west to southern Texas then south through Central America through northern Argentina.
It wasn't introduced to Europe until after the discovery of the "New World," although some early botanists argued due to it's tropical nature must have originated in Africa.
I planted several last spring close to my small lake and found them easy to grow and a plus for a summer blooming plant, as they flower summer through early fall until frost.
Also, I grew up with these in our back yard and remember how I loved the flowers all summer. Canna flowers typically are red, orange or yellow with mostly solid green leaves but many varieties have brownish, maroon and variegated foliage.
Although people grow them for their attractive flowers and foliage, nature intended them to be an excellent pollinator, as Canna is great for bees, hummingbirds and bats.
Besides a beautiful addition to a garden this plant makes a great addition in borders and as a potted plant for patios and decks.
Full sun is best but they can flourish in partial shade with at least six hours sun. Canna plants like rich or sandy moist, well drained soil and lots of mulch (cut back after frost and over mulch heavy in our climate during winter).
Amazingly, Canna is relatively free of pests and disease with the exception of possibly red spider mites, Japanese beetles and fungus caused by too much water. I have never had to eradicated either on mine.
I like this plant for many reasons, attractive addition to my yard, easy to grow, attracts beneficial birds and insects, but especially because it's an Americas' native. After all so many of our flowers and plants came from other continents, Canna is one of our own.
Until Next Time.......
Happy Gardening 2013!
Posted by Wilma Smith