Canna Lily - Everything you need to know about

Canna Lily

Canna lily also simplified as Canna, is a genus of flowering plants native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. I personally love this plant for its huge bloom and colorful petals that attract birds and bees.

Bee inside canna lily
A bee inside canna lily

In this article, I will share my growing experience with Canna Lily and also guide you on growing, pruning, propagating, watering, etc.

I love this plant as it attracts small birds like hummingbirds.

Canna Lily Information

Scientific Name Canna
Common Name Canna Lily
Type Herbaceous Perennial
Planting Season Plant it in spring or just after the winter
Native To Tropical and Subtropical Americas
Height Varies (typically a few to over six feet)
Foliage Broad, paddle-shaped leaves; Green, Burgundy, Variegated
Flowers Large, Lily-like blooms; Red, Orange, Yellow, Pink
Growing Conditions Full Sun to Partial Shade; Well-Drained Soil; Regular Watering
Propagation Division of Rhizomes (Rootstalk) and from seeds also
Landscaping Uses Borders, Focal Points, Containers
Maintenance Regular Watering, Balanced Fertilizer, Deadheading
Winter Care In Colder Climates: Lift and Store Rhizomes
Notable Features Tropical Appearance, Vibrant Foliage, Exotic Blooms

How to grow it?

We can grow canna lily:

  • In a pot or container.
  • Can be grown in the ground.

You can also grow canna lily from seeds if you wish.

Grow canna lily in a pot

Cultivating Canna lilies in pots or containers offers a practical choice, particularly for individuals with confined space or those seeking to enhance patios, balconies, or decks with these striking plants. Below is a comprehensive guide on cultivating Canna lilies in a container:

Pot selection:

  • Opt for a spacious and sturdy pot.
  • Adequate drainage holes are required. It will help to prevent root rotting

Soil Preparation:

  • Utilize a well-draining potting mix enriched with organic matter.
  • Aim for a slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH ranging from 6.0 to 7.0.

Planting: After filling the container with soil (Giving space or a hole in the center), it's time to plant. Plant your canna lily in the hole, and tighten the soil. In the end, add some water.

Repotting: Don't forget to repot every 2 years to give fresh soil (As day by day the fertilization in a pot decreases).

Note: Make sure that you put it indoors in heavy winter to overwinter your lilies.

Grow canna lily in the ground

If you wish you can plant it in the ground too. I personally love this one as I have a lot of outdoor spaces.

Canna lily does not demand huge sunlight. So you can plant it in shady places also. But they need moist soil almost all the time. In my native land, this plant automatically grows beside the drains. (Because those places have moist soil all the year)

If the soil is prepared and moist, you can directly plant it there. It does not die easily.


Balanced fertilizer is good for this flowering plant. Slow-release fertilizers are good for canna lilies.


Canna lily can grow up to 6 or 7 feet. If you see bending at the top then you can use support to prevent them from toppling over.

You can use a solid stick to give proper support.

Winter care for canna lilies

  • In regions with a warm climate, Canna lilies tend to exhibit perennial characteristics, allowing them to thrive in the ground year-round.
  • In colder climates, it is advisable to trim back the foliage after the initial frost and shield the planting area with a substantial layer of mulch. This precautionary measure safeguards the Canna lily rhizomes from freezing temperatures during the winter months.


Every 2-3 years, consider dividing the Canna lilies to rejuvenate the plants and control their size.

Propagation of Canna Lily

The most commonly used propagation method is using Rhizomes (Also known as creeping rootstalk). If you uproot a plant of canna lily, you will see something like ginger or turmeric. That is Rhizome.

But we can also use seeds to propagate Canna lilies.

If you are curious to learn how to do that you can check my previous article on How to Germinate Canna Lily Seeds


It's important to prune the unhealthy and yellow leaves to maintain proper growth. Also, remove the dead flowers from the stem to increase the blooms.

If you notice any unusual growth you can remove some of your plants from the rootstalk.

Some facts about Canna Lily

Here's a list of questions that are asked on the internet widely:

Are canna lilies perennials?

Yes, they can live more than 2 years. It's a perennial plant.

Are canna lilies poisonous to dogs?

No, they are not poisonous and do not harm dogs or any pets. They are not harmful to children also. But do not ingest it, as it might cause health issues.

Do canna lilies spread?

Yes, it can spread rapidly but not as aggressively as other grass-type plants.

How to deadhead canna lilies?

Deadheading is the process of removing spent or faded flowers from plants. If you do so, it will reward you with more flowers.

After the flowers past their prime, you can start deadheading. Follow the flower stem down to where it connects to the main stalk or stem of the plant.

Locate a node on the flower stem, which is a small bump or swelling where leaves or buds emerge. Using your pruning shears or scissors, make a clean cut just above the node. This is typically a few inches below the faded flower.

When do canna lilies bloom?

It blooms in the Midsummer.

do deer eat canna lilies?

It's known as a deer resistant and deer does not eat it.

Different colors of Canna Lily - Photos

There are multiple types of canna lilies out there. If I describe each one here, this article will be very long. I will share in-depth knowledge on this in another article.

For now, I am showing some major varieties of this lily which I have grown till now.

I am not mentioning the scientific name or any complicated name that is hard to remember. Just showing with the color names.

Orange or peach-colored canna lily

This orange cana lily is hard to find in the local area.

Orange Canna Lily
Orange canna lily

White canna lily

White canna lily
White canna lily

Green leaves and white flower is really a nice combination.

Greenish Canna Lily

Take a look at this lily. I guess white and green are mixed.

Greenish canna lily
Greenish canna lily

Yellow canna lily

Yellow canna lily
Yellow canna lily