Canna lilies add drama to your garden

In the heat of summer (should we be so lucky), we normally would be looking to add a little extra punch to our gardens, and there is one family of plants that has so much to offer but really doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

Canna’s like Pink Sunburst can add a splash of colour well into the fall.

In the heat of summer (should we be so lucky), we normally would be looking to add a little extra punch to our gardens, and there is one family of plants that has so much to offer but really doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

Canna lilies have been around for a long time, but with interesting new foliage colours and blossoms, they’re experiencing a huge resurgence.  Canna leaves that resemble those of bananas and flowers that look like ginger lilies add a refreshing tropical touch to any container or garden bed.  The problem is we don’t use enough of them!

I love cannas for their incredibly easy care.  They not only thrive in the heat of summer but also, like dahlias, will carry your garden well into November.  From a single tuberous root, they will develop into huge clumps, making a magnificent display.  They also come in low (18 inches or 45cm), medium (3 feet or 90cm) and tall (6 feet or 180cm) sizes.  Cannas can be used as foreground plantings or as  giant background specimens.

Cannas add drama.  Their striking leaf colours and variegations create an opportunity for some fabulous combinations.  There are dozens and dozens of canna varieties, but there are a few I’m really excited about.  Black is still where it’s at, and there are a number of dark foliaged varieties.  The master of black, however, is ‘Australia’.  This rather slender and elegant grower has almost black leaves with brilliant orange-red flowers.  It’s definitely a ‘wow’ plant in my book!

There’s one variety that I’ve had my eye on for some time now, and it’s called ‘Constitution’.  Its immense peach coloured flowers open above rich light grey-pink veined foliage.  It’s a class act and would be quite at home surrounded by dwarf echinacea.

Perhaps the most stunning of all cannas are the yellow and green varieties which, by the way, are all very similar.  Striped ‘Bengal Tiger’, with its rich orange flowers, was one of the very first of the intense yellow and green striped varieties.  ‘Pretoria’ looks almost identical with melon orange blooms and leaves similar to ‘Bengal Tiger’ but with a tiny red margin on the outside of its leaves.  One of the newest introductions is a very classy white flowered variety with green foliage called ‘Ermine’.

The most popular of all the striped varieties is ‘Tropicana’.  It has intense green, orange and red striped foliage that changes intensity with the temperature and maturity of the leaves.  Its orange flowers are a true compliment to its leaf colour.   It’s just a great plant!

Sometimes we simply get caught up in the foliage colours of cannas and overlook their exquisite blossoms.  Some, in particular, are breathtaking.  ‘Cleopatra’, with its most unusual red and yellow patterns, is one of the most sought after flowering forms.  Today there are a whole series of designer colours such as peach, apricot and pink shaded varieties that blend in with our current colour schemes.

Remember:  cannas are well suited to both container and garden bed planting.  They add both depth and vibrancy to any garden, but most of all, they can instantly add a magical touch of the tropics.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

From the Chilliwack Progress Archives: Fearing an Aryan invasion

In 1995, Chilliwack Mayor John Les was concerned about the idea of an ‘Aryan Fest’ coming to town.

Big Bar Landslide saw long awaited blasting this week

Pressure has been on senior governments working with First Nations to remove blockage for months

COLUMN: Trying to look forward while looking back

Reader suggests re-running a 2015 Times column after recent racism towards Indigenous people

Two prolific offenders from Alberta lead RCMP on chase across Fraser Valley

Men first reported in Chilliwack ending with allegedly stolen vehicle in an Abbotsford pond

Chilliwack physiotherapist charged with sexual assault

Mounties urging other potential victims to make contact

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

Fiery collision involving truck closes Highway 1 at Three Valley Gap

Drivers should expect major delays and congestion; estimated time of re-opening is 2 p.m.

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Most Read