Updated at: 13-05-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

The easy-to-care-for canna lilies (Canna generalis) bring a tropical feel to the landscape. It’s common to see huge flowers in a variety of brilliant hues. Colorful and variegated leaves can be found on a number of different cultivars. The rhizomes of canna lilies are often sown in the spring.

This is the fastest way to grow tropical flowers, although canna lily seeds, which spring open after the seed pods dry up, can also be used to spread the plant. Canna lilies may be grown in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 through 11. Eight to ten weeks before the latest date of frost in your area, start the canna seeds.

Cut Canna Seeds

Make a small hole in the canna seed’s outer coat. Cut the seed only deeply enough to allow moisture to reach the embryo, but not more. A sharp razor blade, scalpel, or sandpaper can be used to cut a small hole in the seed’s outer coating, according to Oklahoma State University.

Growing Canna From Seed & Collecting Seed - YouTube

Soak Canna Seeds

The canna seeds should be placed in a basin and filled with 1 to 2 inches of water. Five days of constant water changes is all that is required.

Select Containers for Seed Germination

Select a germination container. To make transplanting easier, you can start a few seeds in a tiny planting pot rather than a larger one with holes at the bottom for drainage.

Fill Germination Containers

Fill the germination container with vermiculite – a ground-up mined mineral. Its ability to store nutrients and oxygen makes it perfect for seed propagation. Alternatively, you can purchase a soilless growing mix that offers many of the same benefits, advises the University of Maryland Extension. Pots should be left to dry out before watering vermiculite again.

Plant Canna Seeds

Fill the germination container with vermiculite – a ground-up mined mineral. Its ability to store nutrients and oxygen makes it perfect for seed propagation. Alternatively, you can purchase a soilless growing mix that offers many of the same benefits, advises the University of Maryland Extension. Pots should be left to dry out before watering vermiculite again.

Germinate Canna Lilies

Grind up some vermiculite and add it to the germination container. Because of its ability to store nutrients and oxygen, it is perfect for seed propagation.. As an alternative, the University of Maryland Extension recommends purchasing a soilless growth mix. Water vermiculite slowly and let the pots set for a few minutes before moving on.

Prepare to Transplant Seedlings

When the pots are 6 inches high, place them in a shallow pan. Pour water into the pan until it reaches about three-quarters of the way up the sides of the pots. Soak them until the vermiculite on top is completely wet. If you’ve planted multiple canna seeds in a single pot, this makes it easier to remove the plants from the pots and to separate the roots from one other.

Plant Seedlings in Pots

Fill each seedling’s pot with damp potting soil and plant it. Keep the soil moist and the pots in a sunny location. Iowa State University’s Reiman Gardens recommends that you move the plants outside as soon as the risk of frost has been eliminated.

Photo of the seed pods or heads of Canna Lily (Canna indica) posted by Joy - Garden.org

Fertilize Canna Lilies

Once the canna seedlings have been transplanted, use a liquid 10-10-10 fertilizer, diluted with water to half the label’s recommended dosage.

Canna Seed Propagation

Many types of canna lilies yield viable seeds, making seed propagation possible. Canna lilies from seed may not produce the same variety as those grown from seed because most of the plants with eye-catching flowers are hybrids. However, if you’re curious in the results of growing plants from seed, you should give it a shot. Wild canna lilies come in a wide variety of colors and patterns, so you won’t be disappointed, either.

Canna Lily Seed Harvesting

What time of year can you collect canna lily seeds, then? A cluster of seed pods forms after the blossoms have faded. One to three seeds are commonly found in the green, spiky pods. Despite their look, the pods are harmless. Once the seed pods of canna lilies have dried, it is time to collect the seeds. When the pods open up, the black seeds can be easily extracted. Despite their size, they are very manageable.

How to Germinate Canna Lily Seeds

Is it possible to immediately sow canna lily seeds in the garden? Canna seed propagation is not as simple as collecting the seeds themselves.. Direct planting of the seeds does not result in germination. This is the most difficult challenge, due to the seed’s hard covering. The seed coat of canna seeds must be softened before to planting in order to enhance germination.

Preparing canna seed for propagation comprises soaking, heating and scarification. It may take a few tries before you get it right. A month or two before you want to put it outside, get started on the process. It normally takes between one and two weeks for seeds to germinate. For a minimum of 24 hours, canna seeds need to be soaked in water before use. Some people propose soaking in lukewarm water. Canna lily seeds can be germinated in a commercial media such as Jiffy Mix.

Seeds can be sown into the medium in little depressions. Add the water and the mix to the pan and stir to combine. After planting and watering the seeds, the container should be covered in plastic wrap and kept at a temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit inside the house. Germination can only begin at a temperature of 70-75 degrees F (21-24 degrees C). A heating pad can be used to keep the room at a constant temperature. It is also possible to scarify before sowing canna seeds in order to help them germinate. Scrape the seed coat off with a file or sandpaper.

To see the endosperm’s white color, keep touching the bean. Scarified canna seeds don’t need to be soaked anymore, thus they can be planted immediately in the medium. It’s important to keep the container heated at all times. There is only one seed leaf on the canna lily, and it emerges first. A pot is ready for the seedlings when they are 6 inches (15 centimeters) tall. Planting in the garden should only begin until the risk of frost is eliminated.

Growing Cannas in the Home Garden

Plants like cannas are known for their brightly colored flowers and foliage. Yellow, orange, pink, and red are the primary hues of flowers. Foliage might be green, copper, or burgundy in color. Some varieties’ leaves are speckled or marbled with a variety of colors. Cultivars of canna generally reach a height of three to five feet. Although some cultivars barely reach 1.5 to 2 feet in height, there are dwarf varieties. Some so-called “giants” can grow to a height of up to ten feet tall. It is possible to utilize cannas as a temporary screen, a decorative accent in a bed, or a background planting in a border. In large containers, the smaller cultivars do better than the larger ones.

Rhizomes are used to grow cannas. It is, nevertheless, feasible to start from seed and grow cannas.

How To Grow And Care For A Canna Lily - Bunnings Australia

Sow canna seeds indoors in a commercial germination media, such Jiffy Mix, around the middle to end of February. Seeds need to be soaked for 12 to 24 hours before planting to soften their seed coats and increase germination rates. Sow the seeds, softly cover them with the medium, and water them. For a few minutes, let the medium drain. Finally, wrap the container with clear plastic and place it somewhere warm. The medium’s temperature should be kept between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Within seven to fourteen days, seeds should begin to germinate. In a sunny window or under fluorescent lights, wait for the seeds to germinate, then remove the plastic wrap. Individually pot up the canna seedlings when they are large enough to handle. Seedlings can be grown in a brightly lit window or in a fluorescent lamp. Before putting the plants in the ground, allow them to harden off for seven to ten days in the open air. Place the cannas initially in a safe, shady spot. Expose the plants to increasing durations of sunshine at a progressive pace. Plant cannas outside when the risk of frost is over (mid-May in central Iowa). Seed-grown cannas from the Tropical and South Pacific Series are available.

While canna rhizomes are best grown indoors, they can be started in large pots in March and transplanted outside when the risk of frost is over. Roots should be planted at least four to five inches deep.

Cannas prefer moist, well-drained soil and full sun for optimum performance. A minimum of six hours of direct sunlight every day is recommended for the planting site.) During periods of dry weather, it is recommended that you water your plants once a week. In the spring and mid-summer, apply a balanced garden fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, to encourage growth. Remove dead flowers to keep the plant looking its best and encourage new ones to grow.

Canna yellow mottle virus and bean yellow mosaic virus have become major canna illnesses in recent years. Symptoms can include leaf streaking or mottling, plant growth retardation, and a lack of flowering. Cannas afflicted with a virus have no chance of recovery. Plants that show symptoms similar to those of a virus should be killed. Gardeners should only buy cannas from reputed nurseries or garden centers that sell virus-free plant material because of the problem with viruses.

There are a wide variety of canna varieties to choose from. The following is a selection of some of the most popular cultivars.

Green Foliage

Soft pink blooms, dark green leaves, and a height of 3 to 3.5 feet make up Aida.

Coral pink flowers, green foliage, 3 to 4 feet tall; ‘City of Portland’.

‘Crimson Beauty,’ with its rose-red flowers and green leaves, grows to a height of 3 to 4 feet.

Two-foot-tall “Lucifer” has crimson blooms with yellow rims and green leaves.

Flower color is watermelon pink, with green foliage and a height of 3 feet.

‘Richard Wallace’ – 4 feet tall, golden yellow flowers, green leaves.

‘Rosamond Cole’ has orange-red blooms with yellow margins and dark green foliage. It grows to a height of three feet.

A 3 to 3.5 foot tall shrub named ‘The President,’ it has scarlet blooms and green foliage.

Burgundy/Bronze Foliage

‘Black Knight,’ a 3 to 3.5 foot tall shrub with blood red flowers and burgundy leaves.

‘Crimson Futurity,’ with its deep red flowers and burgundy leaves, grows to a height of 3 to 3.5 feet.

“Wyoming” — bronze-red foliage and orange flowers, 3 to 4 feet high.

Variegated Foliage

Flowers are yellow with red dots and dark green foliage has bronze-red markings on the ‘Cleopatra’ variety, which grows to a height of 3 to 4 feet.

‘Inferno’ — orange-red blooms, green, yellow, orange, and pink striped foliage, 3 to 4 feet tall.

Slightly pink-skinned “Intrigue” has 8 to 10 feet of tall lance-leaved foliage and pale salmon blooms.

4 to 6 foot tall plant with orange blooms and yellow and green striped foliage, ‘Pretoria’ (‘Bengal Tiger’).

Stripped Beauty has yellow flowers with white markings, green foliage with yellow stripes, and grows to a height of 3 feet in the wild.

Dresden: 3 to 4 ft. tall, orange flowers, variegated green and white foliage.

Seed-Grown Cultivars

“Tropical Rose,’ “”Tropical Red,” “Tropical Salmon,” “Tropical Bronze Scarlet,” “Tropical White,” and even “Tropical Yellow” are all part of the Tropical Series of cultivars. Plants can reach heights of 2 to 3 feet. ‘Tropical Bronze Scarlet’ is the only one that does not have green foliage. Scarlet red flowers and golden leaves make up ‘Tropical Bronze Scarlet’.

There is presently only one cultivar of the ‘South Pacific Scarlet’ in the South Pacific Series, which was selected as an All-America Selection in 2013. Flowers are scarlet red and grow to a height of 3 to 4 feet.

Cannas will not survive the winter in Iowa if they are left outside. In order to keep the rhizomes of canna plants over the winter, they must be dug out in the fall and kept indoors. After a strong, fatal frost, prune plants to a height of 4 to 6 inches from the ground. Then, using a spade or fork, carefully remove the canna clumps from the soil. Do not disturb the cannas in any way. Wait a few hours before moving on. After that, put the cannas in huge boxes, wire crates, or mesh bags and store them. Dry and cool (40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit) are the best conditions for keeping cannas. Next spring, before planting, large clumps can be separated. At the very least, each part (division) must have

A Guide to Growing Colorful Cannas (Canna lilies) | Garden Design

Things You Will Need

  • Razor, scalpel, or sandpaper
  • Container for germination
  • Vermiculite
  • a misting device
  • Shallow pan
  • Pots for gardening in miniature
  • Fertilizer with a 10-10-10 ratio


If you buy seeds from hybrid cannas, you may not get the same plant as the parent variety. Division of the parent plant is necessary to produce a clone.