Canna Lily Planting in Garden, Pots & Planters

Canna Lily Planting - The Orange Color Flowers of Canna ssp.
The Orange Color Flowers of Canna ssp.

The Canna Lily planting in the garden and the pot, will immediately occupy the editorial team of "Kalliergeia”, for the next 1500 ± words, as the first dose, because they will follow – if we have good e-health – and other tributes.

The reason for these tributes is the fact that in recent years Canna Lily, unjustly in our lofty opinion, is not included in the first line of popularity of flowering plants, although it has plants with excellent ornamental properties.

Being the only representative of the genus in the family of  Cannaceae, it consists of ten species and innumerable varieties, with many different attractive characteristics, concerning the dimensions of the plants, but also the size and color of the leaves and flowers.

Tall, normal or dwarf, with green, red or variegated foliage, with orange, red, pink, yellow or multicolored flowers the rhizomatous perennial Canna Lilies deserve a place in the garden and in the pot.

Let the plant lovers judge whether they are worth another one.

Canna Lilies not only have beautiful flowers, but also attractive leaves with a variety of colors, such as the case of Canna ‘Durban’.

Purple Foliage of Canna ‘Durban’ With Stripes of Green, Yellow, Pink And Red
Purple Foliage of Canna ‘Durban’ With Stripes of Green, Yellow, Pink And Red
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Environment of Canna Lily Establishment

The Canna Lilies, within their natural growth limits, are quite hardy and highly adaptive plants.

Of course, a condition for them to show not only their survival skills but also to thrive – that is, to play their great ornamental role – is, among other things, their planting in gardens of areas that respond to the appropriate climatic conditions, have the appropriate soil or soil mixture, and the correct location is selected for them.

The same goes for Canna Lily planting in pots and planters of any kind.


The garden Cannas (Canna indica, Canna x generalis, Canna x orchiodes, and other garden hybrids) show remarkable tolerance to low temperatures.

The lower temperature limit of their tolerance is between -9.5 to -12 °C (14.9 to 10.4 °F), where in case of prevailing such temperatures they completely lose their over ground part, however the rhizome of the plants remains alive, and next Spring they should resprout.

But if the Cannas are planted in areas where winters are harsher, then their rhizomes should digging up from the ground in late autumn, when the leaves fade, and overwinter in a sheltered environment, in ways and means that will be explicitly mentioned in one of the following tributes.

With the high temperatures, things are much simpler, since Cannas does not face the slightest problem, and if they are fully established, they can withstand maximum temperature values that exceed even the 40 °C (104 °F).


When choosing their planting location, should exclude those areas that are directly exposed to strong winds – and the plants are not protected.

In these locations, the scary thing is not that Cannas is threatened with drying out, which is not the case, but their appearance is greatly damaged, as their large leaves are torn, presenting a more or less heartbreaking spectacle.

Soil & pH

Canna can be planted in almost any soil type, provided it has excellent drainage, however it thrives in fertile, medium-textured, and rich in organic matter soils that drain well but at the same time retain the necessary moisture.

In terms of pH, they adapt to a wide range between slightly acidic and slightly alkaline soils, but perform best in soils with a pH ranging between 6 and 6.5.


The Cannas both in the vegetative period and in the flowering period are favored by being planted in places of full sunshine. This means that the plants receive (with great pleasure) at least 6 to 8 hours a day in direct sunlight.

In fact, to the extent that the minimum hours of direct exposure to the sun are satisfied, there is the possibility of planting them in places of partial shade, where they now use the morning and afternoon light.

Canna Lily Planting in Garden, Pots & Planters

Canna Lily Planting - Sprout of “Bud” on Canna ssp. Rhizome
Sprout of “Bud” on Canna ssp. Rhizome

Proper Season for Canna Lily Planting

Always Spring is the best time to plant Canna Lily rhizomes directly in the garden and in the pot. The risk of late frosts must have passed and the minimum night soil temperature must be consistently above 10 °C (50 °F).

Alternatively, the Cannas rhizomes can be planted in pots and indoors at the end of Winter.

When outside temperatures allow, Cannas, which take about 1 to 1½ a month to sprout, can be transplanted either into garden soil or into larger pots – if that is the case.

Canna Lily Planting in Garden, Pots & Planters

Soil, Substrates & Materials for Canna Lily Planting

As mentioned above (… then why do we say it again?), Cannas thrive in fertile soils, which drain well but retain the necessary moisture, contain abundant organic matter and are rather slightly acidic.

Whether planted in the garden or in pots and planters, these elements of texture, structure and content that favor the growth of Cannas plants should be exist in the garden soil or soil mixtures and substrates.

In the Garden

It is not uncommon nor unlikely to win the Lotto, so if the garden soil meets the requirements of Canna plants, then after digging over and hoeing or milling (depending on the area to be exploited), the plant lovers (who won the Lotto and did not give up running away – at first – from this article) can to proceed directly to the planting of rhizomes (or to the transplanting of already developed plants).

Otherwise – alas! – they will resort to soil transformation.

In nurseries and garden centers the plant lovers will find ready mix planting soil, some of them with high quality, which can be used for this purpose.

But if they do not want to use ready-made soil mixtures for substrates, but at the same time do not know how to prepare their own, for this and only for them there is the "Kalliergeia", in order to secretly and exclusively confide in them materials and proportions, such as the following, which contribute to the creation of a flawless substrate which consists of:

  • 1 part of the garden soil
  • 1 part of river sand
  • 2 parts of neutral pH compost
  • 2 parts of acid reaction peat

If the soil of the garden is sandy, the addition of river sand is omitted, while if it is heavy clay, the participation of this material is doubled.

In the Pot & Planters

For the pot and the planter, again the plant lover have three options:

  • The supply of ready mix planting soil
  • The preparation of their own
  • The contribution of "Kalliergeia"

For the brevity of narrative we go directly to the contribution of "Kalliergeia" (which is huge – but let’s not make a big deal of this now) and say that can be summarized as follows:

  • 1 part of high quality potting soil
  • 2 parts perlite
  • 2 parts neutral pH compost
  • 1 part peat acid reaction

Canna Lily Planting in Garden, Pots & Planters

Canna 'Pink Magic' and Caladium 'White Queen' in a Planter
Canna 'Pink Magic' and Caladium 'White Queen' in a Planter

Canna Lily Planting in the Garden

When everything is ready, the process of planting Cannas in the garden or in the flowerbed begins. The steps that the plant lovers are recommended to follow are described immediately below.

Planting in the Garden

  • A hole about 15 cm (6 in) deep and slightly larger than the length of the rhizome is digging (or one and a half the height and diameter of the pot, in the case of transplanting), and if possible leaves open for about 2 weeks
  • The lower third of the pit is filled with the soil mixture and on it is placed the rhizome horizontally, with the nodes – the "buds" – facing the opening of the pit (or the plant is placed from the pot, but in such a way so that its crown is level with the ground)
  • Fill the pit partially with the soil mixture, pressing it lightly each time
  • Abundant watering follows, but avoiding the creation of overflow phenomena

Canna Lily Planting in the Pot & Planters

Having preceded one or two transplants (which will be discussed in detail in the tribute for the propagation of the plant), the sprouted rhizomes of Cannas are ripe for the last transplant, in the most beautiful pot or planter chosen by the plant lover.

The most beautiful pot or planter should have holes in the bottom – if it does not, the plant lover will have to create them. And once everything is ready to start the process, its steps are described immediately below.

Planting in the Pot or Planter

  • The holes are covered with fragments of old ceramic pots or other similar material, in such a way that they do not clog by the ready mix planting soil or the prepared – which has become as homogeneous as possible
  • Pour the soil mixture to the height where the crown of the plant is located about 2 cm (0.8 in) below the rim of the pot
  • Fill in part the pot or planter with the soil mixture, which is lightly pressed by hand each time
  • Watering follows, and at the points where the soil mixture may settle, a necessary quantity is adding, and the watering repeated
  • After 10 to 15 minutes the water is emptied from the saucer of the pot (if there is a saucer – if it is not there, in all probability, there is no reason to empty it)
  • The end of the ceremony is solemnly proclaimed


Canna Lily Planting - Cannes (Canna 'Striata') and Grasses in the Garden, in an Extremely Successful Combination
Cannes (Canna 'Striata') and Grasses in the Garden, in an Extremely Successful Combination


The References in the article, which bears the cultivated title Canna Lily Planting in Garden, Pots & Planters, are presented by two great artists, Joan Chandos Baez and Clyde Jackson Browne, with the important traditional British, Irish and finally American folk song Lily of the West.

With Pomp and Circumstance

English-speaking people call the Canna plant Canna Lily, although it is not a real Lily (Lilium), like the Lily of The West.

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