As a beginner, it’s important to know how to germinate canna seeds. These tropical flowers can be propagated most easily from rhizomes. However, seeds can be used to start a canna plant.
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It’s up to you whether you want to use cannas as modest accents or as the center of attention in your garden. If you’re curious about growing cannas from seeds to see what happens, it’s definitely worth a shot.
Planting Cannas and Harvesting the Seeds
Early summer or late spring is the best time to plant cannas outside. 60°F is the ideal soil temperature. If the planting season is short, you can also grow cannas inside in pots or greenhouses.
If you want your canna lilies to thrive, you’ll want to choose a location that gets at least four hours of direct sunlight each day. Make sure that the soil is loosened up by at least 2 to 4 inches before adding compost.
After the flowers have faded, the seed pods will begin to form. Vegetable pods in this genus are green and have one to three seeds. Once the pods are dried, you can collect the seeds.
Once the pods have opened, the black seeds can be easily squeezed out. The large, gleaming seeds make harvesting them a breeze.
How to Start Canna Seeds
Cannas are difficult to grow from seed. Before you can plant the seeds, you must first soften the seed coat. Before putting the seeds in the ground, you need wait at least one to two months for the seeds to germinate. One to two weeks is typical for seed germination. Canna seeds can be germinated in two methods.
Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours before planting them in a commercial medium. Cover the canna seeds with a cloth, and then mist the medium with water. Spend some time letting the medium air out. The pot should be kept warm and covered with a freezer bag.
You must also keep the medium’s temperature between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the bag once the seeds have sprouted, and place the seedlings near a window or fluorescent lights. Once the seedlings are large enough to handle, divide them into individual containers and replant them.
When sowing seeds, you might chip the seeds before planting them to encourage their germination. The rate of germination can be slowed down or accelerated depending on the seed’s hardness. When chopping the seeds, you must be careful. Rub it off until you see the seed’s white portion.
You can remove the seed coating with a blade or file. You can also use sandpaper or nail clippers. The nicest part of this procedure is that you don’t need to soak scarified seeds before planting them in the germination medium.
Throughout the growing season, you must, however, keep the container warm. However, if you prefer to soak the seeds, you can do so at your own discretion. For two days, soak the seeds in water.
Depending on their size, they can be planted in 3- to 4-inch flowerpots or individual cell trays once they’ve germinated. It’s more convenient to utilize the latter method because you won’t have to plant them one at a time as they mature.
It’s advisable to use plastic flowerpots if you’re only planting a few seeds. Planting three to five seeds in a pot will make it easier to untangle the roots later on.
After a week, apply a 10-10-10 fertilizer to the seedlings. You don’t have to be concerned if you don’t have a rhizome for cannas. If you know how to start canna seeds, you can grow these beautiful flowers in your garden.
Why Start Your Canna Seeds in a Mini Greenhouse?
Starting cannabis seeds in a tiny greenhouse has a number of advantages. Many gardeners, on the other hand, are hesitant to try their hand at greenhouse gardening because they believe it is an expensive endeavor.
When it comes to greenhouses, they come in a variety of sizes and styles. With a conventional 6-foot length, mini greenhouses are more cost-effective than their larger counterparts. Canna seeds can be started in these greenhouses, as well as any other sort of seed.
A seed or a seedling is extremely fragile, and it needs all the help it can get. When it comes to starting canna seedlings, little greenhouses are ideal. They keep your plants warm and protected from the elements throughout the year. Grow lights, fans, heaters, and coolers are just some of the greenhouse equipment you can use to produce the optimal growing conditions for your plants.
The plants in your greenhouse are also protected from pests because of the presence of a greenhouse. Various insects and animals, including aphids and mealybugs, can cause damage to your plants; they include deer, moles, and spider mites, among others. Pest infestations may be reduced if they are housed in a greenhouse.
Will the Canna Seeds Produce New Plants?
Cannas (Canna spp., USDA zones 7 to 10) are generally produced from rhizomes, but they can also be grown from seed if a few basic steps are followed.
Canna lily seeds sprout and generate new plants when treated with warmth and attention.
Characteristics of Canna Lilies
Canna lilies are rhizome-producing tropical and subtropical plants of the genus Canna, which the Missouri Botanical Gardens estimates has ten species. In addition to dividing and planting rhizomes and gathering canna seeds, new plants are created by this method. Plants can reach a height of 1 1/2 to 8 feet and a spread of 1 1/2 to 6 feet depending on the cultivar.
This plant’s big, banana-like leaves come in a wide range of hues, including red, green, bronze, and marbled and striped. There are a wide choice of colors to choose from when it comes to the huge petaled summer blooms that are crowned by tall flower spikes. Small, black or brown seeds form after the spent flowers dry up.
Whether employed as foundation plantings, mass plantings, screens (for the taller types), perennial and annual beds, or mixed beds, canna lilies make a striking addition to any landscape. They’re also great for growing in pots.
Planting Canna Lily Seeds
The best time to start canna lily seeds inside is in late winter or early spring, when the risk of frost has passed. According to Iowa State University, soaking seeds for 12 to 24 hours softens the hard outer seed coat and speeds up germination. Additionally, Oklahoma State University recommends nicking the outer covering of the seed with a knife in order to aid in the germination process.
Seeds should be lightly covered with dirt before being watered and planted in a container that has bottom drainage. In a room with temperatures between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit after watering, cover the container with plastic wrap. Seeds of canna lilies germinate within a week to two weeks of being planted. Place the containers on a heat mat to hasten the germination process.
Continued Care and Considerations
Removing the plastic cover when germination is complete will allow you to place the pot in a bright spot, such as a south-facing window. If you’re using fluorescent lighting, you can also put the container underneath the hood. Transplant the canna lily seedlings into individual pots with bottom drainage and a light potting mix when they reach a height of about 4 inches. As soon as the soil dries out to the point where the top inch is exposed, water.
Harden off the canna seedlings for about a week or two before planting them in a sunny location. To harden off the cannas, begin by placing the pots in a shady spot and gradually increasing the amount of sunlight they receive. When the canna lilies are done blooming, you can either plant them in the garden or store them in containers. A well-drained, healthy soil in full light is ideal for canna lilies to thrive.
Growing cannas from seed has both advantages and cons. The flower petals may not be as large if you cultivate seed from hybrids, which inherit the features of one parent but not the other. However, the seeds’ hard seed coat prevents pests, viruses, and fungus from penetrating the coating and infecting the developing plant when grown from seed.
Growing Cannas in the Home Garden
Tropical-looking cannas are grown for their colorful flowers and interesting foliage. In addition to yellow, orange, and pink, flowers can also come in red and purple. There are three colors for the enormous, banana-like foliage: bronze, burgundy, and green. A variety of hues can be found on the leaves of some varieties. Canna varieties often grow between 3 and 5 feet tall. Dwarf varieties, on the other hand, only reach a height of 1.5 to 2 feet. Some so-called “giants” are capable of standing 8 to 10 feet tall. This plant is versatile enough to be used in a variety of landscape contexts: borders, accent planting areas, temporary screens, and more. In large containers, the smaller cultivars do better than the larger ones.
Rhizomes are typically used to propagate cannas. However, canna seeds can be used to start a new plant.
Sow canna seeds in a commercial germination media like Jiffy Mix in mid- to late February. In order to increase seed germination, immerse seeds in water for at least 12 to 24 hours before planting. Lightly cover the seeds and water the medium after they’ve been sown. Allow the medium to drain for a few minutes before using it. After that, place the container in a warm place and cover it with clear plastic wrap. The medium’s temperature should be kept between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. The seed should germinate between 7 to 14 days. Wither the seeds in a sunny window or under fluorescent lights once they’ve germinated. Individually transplant 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 landscape, let them to acclimate for seven to ten days in the open air. When planting the cannas, keep them in an area that is shady and protected. Expose the plants to increasing durations of sunshine at a progressive pace. Cannas can be planted outside when frost is over (mid-May in central Iowa). Cannas from the Tropical and South Pacific Series are readily available as seed-grown plants.
In March, canna rhizomes can be started indoors in large pots and then transplanted outside. Roots should be planted 4 to 5 inches below the soil surface.
Cannas thrive in full light and wet, well-drained soil. As much direct sunshine as possible should be received by the planting site. When the weather is dry, water your plants once a week. Fertilize your garden using a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, in the spring and mid-summer to encourage growth. To keep your plants looking their best and to encourage new blooms, remove any wasted flowers.
There have been various viruses that have turned into dangerous diseases in cannas in the previous few years. Symptoms may include mottling or streaking of foliage, stunting of plants, and poor flowering, among other possibilities. Infected cannas can’t be cured of their virus infection. Plants that show symptoms similar to those of a virus should be removed and destroyed. Cannas should only be purchased from reputed garden centers/nurseries that sell virus-free plant material because of viral problems.
There are a wide variety of canna varieties to choose from. A few of the more well-known varieties are given here.
Foliage in the shade of green
A light pink variety with dark green foliage and a height of 3 to 3.5 feet, called ‘Aida.’
‘City of Portland’ – 3.5 to 4 feet tall, with coral pink flowers and green foliage.
Crimson Beauty’ – 3 to 4 feet tall, rose-red flowers, green foliage.
Green foliage and crimson blooms bordered by yellow characterize ‘Lucifer,’ a 2-foot-tall shrub.
Flower color is watermelon pink, with green foliage and a height of 3 feet.
“Richard Wallace” has golden yellow flowers with green foliage that grow to a height of 4 feet, making it ideal for cutting.
Flower color: orange-red with golden margins; dark green foliage; height: 3 ft.; cultivar: “Rosamond Cole”
‘The President,’ a 3 to 3.5-foot-tall shrub with scarlet blooms and green foliage.
Foliage of Burgundy and Bronze
‘Black Knight,’ a 3 to 3.5 foot tall shrub with blood red flowers and burgundy leaves.
“Red Futurity” has deep red blooms and burgundy foliage, and grows to a height of 3 to 3.5 feet.
Wyoming — 3 to 4 feet tall, orange flowers with bronze-red leaves.
Green and Purple Leaves
Flower color is yellow with red spots, and the foliage is dark green with bronze-red markings. Height is 3-4 feet.
Flowers of ‘Inferno’ are reddish-orange and the leaves are streaked with shades of green, yellow, orange, and pink.
Intrigue is an 8-10 foot tall shrub with light salmon blooms and green and burgundy lance-leaved foliage.
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.
4 feet tall, 3 to 4 feet wide, with orange flowers and green and white variegated foliage.
Cultivars Grown from Seed
Tropical Series cultivars include ‘Tropical Rose,’ ‘Tropical Red,’ ‘Tropical Salmon,’ ‘Tropical Bronze Scarlet,’ ‘Tropical White,’ and ‘Tropical Yellow.’ Plants can reach a height of two to three meters. ‘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 currently only one cultivar of the ‘South Pacific Scarlet’ in the South Pacific Series, which was selected as an All-America Selection in 2013. Scarlet red flowers bloom on plants that reach 3 to 4 feet in height.
Cannas will not be able to withstand Iowa’s winters outside. In order to keep the rhizomes of canna plants over the winter, they must be dug out in the fall and kept indoors. Plants should be pruned to a height of 4 to 6 inches after a heavy frost has killed them. Then use a spade or fork to carefully remove the canna clumps. Keep a small quantity of earth around the cannas for a more natural appearance. Wait a few hours before moving on. Use large boxes, wire crates or mesh bags to store the cannas. Temperatures of 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for storing cannas. The following spring, large clumps can be separated and replanted. There should be at least three to five buds each part (division).
Final Thoughts on How to Start Canna Seeds
Canna lilies are a great way to bring the tropics into your landscape. Knowing how to start canna seeds from scratch enables you to experience their beauty in your own house. Canna lilies thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 to 11 and are easiest to cultivate from seed.