The past two years, North Haven Garden Club has planted Canna lilies in the middle barrels on Maple Avenue at the Rec Center and a few other pots and barrels around town. We have received many inquires asking what the tall yellow plants are called and where can they can be purchased. Canna Lilies are tropical bulbs that grow from rhizomes and are bold, tall, colorful and add that tropical feel the any barrel or garden. They are known for there large foliage and bright blooms that come in yellow, red, pink and orange. Leaves are usually large, banana-like, tropical-looking and bold, most are a rich emerald-green, but some have purple/red or variegated leaves. Gardeners from warmer climates are very familiar with this perennial that is very easy to grow and can be grown in most areas of the United States.
Canna Lilies can be grown from seed, rhizome or potted plant. Planting the lilies from a rhizome is the easiest and most popular way and they should be planted in spring or early summer since they thrive with hot temperatures. Make sure the soil has warmed up to 55 degrees before planting in the spring. Planting in soil that is to cold and damp will result in the rhizomes rotting. You can even start your plants indoors and then transplant outdoors after the danger of frost has passed. Cannas like it hot and humid and grow best with eight hours or more of full sun with a minimum of six hours to perform well. Since they are a tropical plant they do like a fair amount of water.
Storing Canna Lilies in winter-you will need to dig up the rhizomes before the first hard frost. First you should cut the leaves back to less then 6". Dig up rhizomes and remove as much soil as possible and store them in warm dry location protected form frost and moisture during the winter months using a container that allows some airflow. You can store them in your home, garage, or basement depending on the temperature and moisture present.
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North Haven Garden Club is a member of The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut Inc., New England Garden Clubs Inc., and The National Garden Clubs Inc.
Article and photos by Cindy Golia