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Everything about the Canna Lily plant

Canna Lily

Common Name: Canna

Latin Name: Canna

Family: Cannaceae

Plant Time: -

Mature Size: 1.5 – 8 ft. tall; 1.5 – 6 ft. wide

Sun Preference: full sun

Soil Preference: Moist, well-draining, acidic soil (6.0 - 6.5 pH)

Bloom Time: Summer

Flower Color: orange, yellow, cream, white, red, pink

Native Area: Southeastern United States, Mexico, South America, Central America, West Indies

Toxicity: non-toxic to humans and pets

Growth Rate: fast growers, can grow up to 6-8 ft. in three months

Wildlife Value: -

Table of Contents

Canna Lilies, also known as Indian Shot, are fantastic tropical perennial plants that are native to Central America, South America, and the West Indies. They are known for their large, brightly colored (red, orange, white, pink, yellow, cream) flowers and lush foliage. They are often used as focal points or as background plants in gardens.

There are about 33 different types of Canna Lilies, but these are the most common:

  • Carol’s Yellow
  • Black Knight
  • City of Portland
  • Cleopatra
  • Apricot Dream


In order to make sure your Canna Lily plants are thriving, you need to look out for the following:

  1. Sunlight: Make sure that the plant receives enough sunlight because Canna lilies prefer full sun. Place them in an area that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day.
  2. Watering: Canna lilies prefer moist soil, so make sure to water them regularly. This means weekly watering usually, but in hot summer months, water it every 2 days.
  3. Temperature: Canna lilies prefer warm temperatures, so make sure to protect them from frost and freezing temperatures. (60°F-90°F)
  4. Soil: Canna Lily plants prefer well-drained soil, make sure that the soil does not retain water for long periods of time. –> preventing root rot
  5. Pruning: Prune the plant regularly to remove dead or yellowing leaves, and to keep it in shape.
  6. Humidity: Canna lilies prefer high humidity, so make sure to mist them regularly or place a humid

Common pests:

  • Thrips
  • Aphids
  • Japanese Beetles
  • Caterpillars
  • Scale Insects and Mealybugs
  • Spider Mites


Canna Lily plants can be propagated fairly easily by dividing their rhizomes. You should always do this in the spring or in the fall.

  1. Locate the healthy rhizomes of a mature Canna Lily plant and dig them up.
  2. Cut the rhizomes into sections, each with at least one “eye” or bud and a piece of stem attached to it.
  3. Plant the rhizomes in well-draining soil, ensuring that the “eye” or bud is facing upwards, and keep the soil moist and in a warm, sunny spot.

They also can be propagated by seed, but it’s less common because it just takes longer.


To promote more flowering and regrowth, promptly remove any fading flowering spikes by deadheading them.

When cutting off the flowers, do so at the next side shoot down the stem. This will stimulate the growth of another flower spike. Typically, each stem can produce between two and four spikes.

For any damaged or old growth, you can trim it back to just above ground level. In autumn or after the first frost, it’s advisable to cut the stems down to the ground and provide mulch as protection.

In tropical or warm temperate climates where canna lilies continue to grow, you have the option to cut them back hard either in autumn or spring. This rejuvenates the plant and helps maintain control over its clump-like growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are canna lilies perennials?

Yes, Canna lilies (Canna spp.) are perennial plants. They die back to the ground in the fall or winter, but their underground rhizomes survive and will sprout new growth in the spring.

Do canna lilies spread?

Canna lilies do spread through their underground rhizomes. The rhizomes grow horizontally and can produce roots and shoots from their nodes.

Are canna lilies poisonous to dogs?

Nope. Many lilies are toxic to pets but as it happens, Canna Lilies are not.

When does canna lily bloom?

Canna lily plants generally bloom in the Summer.

Do canna lilies come back every year?

In warm climates, Canna lilies are perennial plants and will come back year after year. They die back to the ground in the fall or winter, but their underground rhizomes survive and will sprout new growth in the spring.