Cannas are one of the most amazing garden plants you can grow. There are few easier to grow garden plants that will also give that tropical shot into the garden and ask for so little in return. This is a primer on how to add cannas to your landscape and give your garden a wonderful tropical feel.
Cannas live in full sun. They love the sun. In fact, cannas will only grow well in full sun. Give them shade and they may never bloom. Give these same cannas some sunlight and they will reach for the sun and grow taller and better.
Soil requirements are rather simple: they will live in any rich soil with lots of natural matter. Cannas may live in poor soil but the leaf size and color will suffer. In the end, the blooms might be smaller or the color may be dull.
Water is another matter. The soil must be kept moist and even in standing water, cannas will thrive. Cannas can take small periods of dry soil but they cannot take drought situations. Cannas are a tropical plant and, like most tropical plants, they need to live in moist, wet areas.
Feeding your cannas is simple. At the end of the year you may cut down the cannas and dig the rhizomes or leave them in the ground depending on your zone. Just add a layer of compost to the top of the soil. This compost dressing will keep the soil rich and ready for the next years growth and stunning blooms.
How deep you plant the rhizome depends on where you live. In the southern areas where cannas can be left in ground year round, plant 6 to 8 inches deep. In the northern areas, you will want to plant cannas in a shallow trench to make digging in the fall rather simple. Cannas are a wonderful thing in the South because they will move closer to the soil level or deeper in the soil depending on what they need.
What to do then? Leave them and let them grow! In the southern areas (USDA zones 8 and warmer) where you can leave them in the ground year round this is it. Topdress with compost each year and these will be wonderful additions in your gardens. In the northern areas (zones 7 and colder) you will need to dig the rhizomes in the fall before the first hard freeze and store in a cool dark place. Plant again in the spring after all danger of frost is past and the ground can be worked.
What other plant gives you so much summer punch and needs so little in return? There is none. These are the most carefree and easy going plants that anyone can grow and love. In time you will be able to trade your ever-growing extras for new colors or other wonderful plants.
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