Tropicanna(r), canna, is a brand name. This is why most people know the plant in my photo. The plant is also known as Canna “Phasion” for purposes of plant taxonomy. The cultivar name is the one that is used, and the genus is the other. “Canna” doubles up as the common name. We don’t capitalize or italicize this when we use it.
Botanically, cannas or “canna lilies”, as they are often called, are perennials that are found in 8-11 zone. Because they are sub-tropical and/or tropical, they are called “tender” perennials. The underground rhizomes, sometimes called “bulbs”, are responsible for the above-ground growth.
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How the Plant Looks
Canna plants can produce beautiful flowers, as you can see in my image. They bloom in my zone (5), usually around the second half July. Tropicanna flowers are orange- or salmon-colored. Some other types are yellow, such as C. indica var. flava. Other varieties of canna also have red flowers such as C. ‘The president.’ Although less common, they are readily available and easily accessible.
However, gardeners who grow Tropicanna Canna are mainly interested in growing them as outdoor foliage plants. Flowers are an added bonus. It is the variegated leaves that make it unique. Each leaf is initially tightly wound in the shape a long tube and is purple. It’s quite entertaining to see it unfold. You will notice a pattern of stripes on the leaf surface in four colors, purple, red and green.
These plants are quick-growing and can grow to a height of anywhere from 2-6 feet. The conditions that you provide will determine how tall your Tropicanna grows. It grows to about 2 feet in height because I keep it in a small pot and don’t fertilize often. People who plant the same plant in the ground, fertilize regularly and care for it well will probably see a 6-footer.
How to Plant them in Cold Climates: Where they Grow
According to Smithsonian, there is 58 species canna lily species that originated in the New World’s tropical and subtropical regions. C. indica is most commonly found. They are distant relatives to bird-of-paradise, Stralitzia regginae.
This plant should be grown in full sunlight. Make sure the soil is evenly moist. To increase fertility, add humus. Although this plant is said to be clay-tolerant, I prefer well-drained soil.
You must wait until frost danger has passed if you grow canna rhizomes outside of zone 7. You may find that your canna sprouts early in spring if you keep it in the same pot. If there’s still frost, resist the temptation to take the pot outside. You can grow your canna outside while you wait for the weather to cooperate. Make sure the soil is evenly moist. It can be taken outside on warm days but you should bring it inside at night.
How to use the plant in your landscaping
Canna lilies can be used to give a North landscape a tropical feeling in the summer. Tropicanna is a popular tropical plant. The flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds, too.
They can be grown as container plants either by themselves or in combination plantings. These containers are great for sunny decks and patios.
Cannas love soil that is slightly wet. This makes them water-friendly plants. As long as they are planted at the edge of the pond, and not directly in the pond, and that the ground drains well.
Tropicanna Canna Care
Canna is a North-facing summertime plant that does not seem to be affected by pests and diseases. To protect your plants, you might only need to kill slugs or snails occasionally. To encourage more blooming, you may need to deadhead Tropicanna.
Tropicanna canna’s care mainly involves watering the plants in the summer. Northern gardeners must remember to overwinter the plants once the first frost has passed. Also, they need to be careful when removing the winter storage containers from the plants to allow them to be reintroduced to the outside the next year. Here’s how to store canna for winter. This process is the same as that used to store dahlia bulbs, another tropical plant.