A guide to planting and caring for Canna Lily

The Canna Lily (not to confuse with the Calla Lily) is a beautiful perennial that, when fully grown, turns into large, colorful flowers, with tropical-like bright green foliage. This plant is not for the faint of hearts or for those who prefer discreet flowers. Low maintenance and fairly easy to grow, canna lilies brighten any space they’re in, and will sure turn your garden into a small tropical heaven.

Blossoming from late spring to the first frost of the year, canna lilies are the perfect plants for a colorful summer (and maybe fall). Orange, red, or yellow, these plant’s flowers are magnificent, and you will definitely enjoy looking at them every morning!

And since you’re on this article, I’m betting you want to know more about canna lilies, and why not, plant them! So, here we go: the complete guide to growing and caring for canna lily. Keep reading, folks!

Growing canna lily

Before growing any kind of plant, we, of course, need to know what conditions they need to fully blossom, and canna lilies are no exception to this. Although very low maintenance, those festive plants still need the perfect conditions to grow.

Where to plant canna lilies

First of all, you should know that canna lilies, being tropical plants, enjoy the sun; so the best thing to do would be to place them in full sun (partial shade is also good).

Canna lilies thrive in some specific conditions, so the soil you plant them in has to be fertile, with good drainage, and either slightly acidic or neutral. You should also be sure that your soil is rich in organic matter, which is a prerequisite condition for this kind of plants.

If you live somewhere with a warm climate, you can plant your canna lily outdoors, in your garden. But, if your home is in colder sides of the country (or planet), you can use pots or containers. Just so you know first: it is better and easier to grow canna lilies from tubers than from seed, so remember that when you’re thinking about adding them to your collection.


When and how to plant canna lily

The best time for planting canna lilies is late spring or early summer, after the threat of the last frost has passed but the soil is still moist enough for these plants. If you’re planting a group of canna lilies, place them two feet apart so they can breathe easily.

First of all, dig a hole in your soil, two to three inches deep. Place your rhizomes horizontally in the hole, with the eyes up, then cover them with soil (up to six inches), and add mulch to retain moisture. Water thoroughly to settle the soil around your future canna lily.

Caring for canna lily

Source: pixabay

Once your rhizomes are settled, you need to take care of them so they can grow and thrive. As I already stated before, canna lilies are pretty low maintenance, however, this does not mean that you get to forget about them and still end up with beautiful foliage and colorful flowers. They’re low maintenance, not magical beans, folks!

So, if you want to know more about the best way to care for your freshly planted canna lilies, keep reading!

Watering and fertilizing canna lilies

Since canna lilies are tropical plants, they, naturally, need thorough watering. During the driest months of the year, water every single day, twice a day if needed. And remember, canna lilies like being moist, but not soggy, so take that into account.

Canna lilies also require to be fertilized once a month, using a fertilizer that is high in phosphate, which guarantees continual bloom.

Other important caring tips for canna lily

First of all, if you see that some of your canna lilies’ flowers have started fading, deadhead them, this will promote continued flowering of your plants. And if a stem has been deadheaded so much that it doesn’t produce flowers anymore, cut it and attach the remaining foliage to the ground.

Come winter, you will need to lift your canna lilies’ bulbs for storage. After the fall frost has killed back the foliage of your plant, dig around your canna lilies’ bulbs (remember to dig deeper than the first time you planted them since cannas’ bulbs multiply rapidly during the hot season), and gently lift them from the ground. You can also divide them if you find it necessary.

Cut your plant’s foliage back to two or three inches and wash the dirt of the bulbs, but do not scrub them clean, since it can be damaging. After that, you need to cure your canna lilies’ bulbs. One way you can do that is by placing them somewhere dry for a few days.

Finally, wrap your bulbs in either paper bags or newspaper and place them in a dry place. Check them once a month to remove any bulbs that start to rot due to moisture. If you notice that a lot of them are rotting, then it might be better to place them somewhere drier.


With proper care and wintering, you will end up with beautiful canna lilies that will be the joy of your garden!