Garden with tropical Cannas flowers.

How to Plant Tropical Cannas in Your Garden

Cannas bring tropical color to the late-summer garden, but they are not entirely hardy. They are tougher than dahlias, though, and can survive outside in milder areas with the right care.

When to plant: Late spring.

At their best: Midsummer to autumn.

Time to complete: 30 minutes for planting.

You will need: Canna rhizomes, well-rotted organic matter – such as manure, mulch, straw, chicken wire or wooden box.

Siting cannas

These plants need a hot and sunny spot to flower well; a south-facing, sheltered area is ideal. Also, make sure that your cannas are not shaded by neighboring plants, or competing with them for moisture, which can affect flowering.

Improve the soil

Cannas are thirsty plants, so improve the soil with organic matter to help retain moisture. To plant, dig a hole about 8 in (20 cm) deep and lay a rhizome in it horizontally. Refill the hole with soil, water well, and apply a layer of mulch.


In the fall, after the frost has blackened the leaves, cut down the stems. In mild regions, cover the rhizomes with straw, pinned down with chicken wire. In colder areas, lift and store them in dry potting mix, in a cool, dry, frost-free place, such as a shed.