Grow a touch of the tropics with Tropicanna canna. This south-of-the-border beauty unfurls leaves striped in shades of red, burgundy, pink, gold, yellow and green. Orange blooms complement the colorful leaves. Give canna a spot in full sun for best growth and to enjoy the beauty of leaves backlit by sun. Plants grow 4 to 6 feet tall. Hardy in Zones 7-11.
Typically a rhizome grows horizontally in soil, either just below the soil surface or sometimes deeper underground. Like an aboveground stem, a rhizome has nodes, spots where buds reside. These buds can grow leaves and/or roots. Because of this trait, it only takes one piece of a rhizome to grow an entire plant. This canna rhizome has five nodes or places where sprouts are emerging. You can also see dried root remnants.
Canna lily plants explode with color from striking leaves and exotic flowers. This trio of canna lily varieties adds vivid color to any planting: Tropicanna canna (striped leaves and orange blooms), Tropicanna Gold (green and yellow striped leaves and yellow and orange flowers), and Tropicanna Black (dark leaves and red blooms).
The canna is a popular tropical plant that’s not hardy where the soil freezes solid. It grows from a type of bulb known as a rhizome, which is located at or just beneath the soil surface. A rhizome is basically an enlarged or fat stem that stores starches and other easy-to-use plant foods.
Toucan Scarlet canna is a smaller version of the classic canna, growing 3 to 4 feet tall. It’s a perfect size canna for container gardens. Here it’s planted with Vermillionaire firecracker plant (orange flowers) and purple annual salvia.
Canna lilies can grow in ponds with their roots submerged. They make a colorful addition to any water garden. Simply set the pot underwater on a pond ledge, or position a container as a marginal pond’s edge plant. This variegated canna is Tropicanna canna.
Stink bugs have voracious appetites—and they aren’t picky about what they eat. The brown marmorated stink bug is the smelly critter that invades homes in fall. Here it’s hiking along a Tropicanna canna leaf.
Give a boggy spot a splash of vivid color with a trio of cannas: Tropicanna, Tropicanna Gold and Tropicanna Black. These cannas unfurl striking leaves that boast a variety of vibrant tropical colors and patterns. Luxuriously large flowers accent the calypso colored leaves for an exotic show. Plants grow 4 to 6 feet tall. Hardy in Zones 7-11. Lift rhizomes in colder zones to store overwinter.
Count on canna lily plants to add vertical interest to planting beds. Here, Tropicanna canna lily and Tropicanna Gold canna lily tower over annual flowers red celosia and gold melampodium. Choose annuals with flowers that match the leaf colors of canna lilies for an eye-catching display.
This Asian-themed living room features a silver tray filled with rocks, three candles and a silver pot filled with red roses positioned on a wooden table. The large windows give an added feeling of height and spaciousness. Wicker furniture completes the look.
Many perennials such as Canna, daylily, Iris, and daffodils are easy to dig and divide into more plants. Though some can be divided any time, it is best to most alone when in flower or under summer heat stress; my rule of thumb is to divide plants in the season opposite of when they flower. Replant immediately or put in pots with a little soil and keep out of harsh sun and freezing temperatures.
A calla lily is another popular plant that grows from a rhizome. Other examples of rhizomes: canna, bearded iris, ginger, bamboo, lily of the valley. When growing rhizomes that aren’t hardy in your zone, dig and store them over winter. Wait for frost to kill (or at least damage) leaves. Dig up rhizomes and cut off leaves. Let a 1- to 2-inch stem stub remain. Cure the rhizomes in a warm, dry place for several days—until cut surfaces are dry.
True bulbs, corms, rhizomes and tubers all have one thing in common: They each need a dormant or rest period following their time of active growth and bloom. Some bulbs need a summer dormancy (tulip); others rest in winter (canna). You can grow any type of bulb in your garden as long as you provide the right dormant period. That’s why northern zone gardeners dig tender bulbs, such as calla lily or canna—to give them a winter dormancy. Understanding how true bulbs, corms, rhizomes and tubers grow helps you to give these bulb beauties the TLC they need to thrive and blossom, year after year.
Garden forks may or may not be a must-have tool for you, depending on what your grow and how you garden. The digging fork is shorter and has thicker, straight tines. It’s used for digging things like potatoes, garlic, yams, canna rhizomes or dahlia tubers. It allows you to loosen and lift soil while (hopefully) not stabbing the item you’re digging. A curved manure or pitchfork is the handiest tool for moving a bulk delivery of shredded bark mulch. No other tool grabs and lifts mulch quite as easily as a pitchfork. On either of these forks, more tines equates to a heavier tool weight and lifting a heavier load.