Plant Tropical Cannas and Turn Your Garden into an Island Getaway

Add a dreamy tropical island getaway in your backyard with these big, beautiful, voluptuous flowers and leaves of Cannas. Planting and care instructions.

By: Lively Root
May 11, 2021
Plant Tropical Cannas and Turn Your Garden into an Island Getaway
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Are you dreaming of an island getaway? Us too! Until then, bring the tropics to your backyard with a few of these stunning tropicals that have those exotic flowers and leaves called Cannas. At Lively Root, we offer lots of fun, gorgeous bulbs that you're going to love! Read on and discover what exotic combinations we have and how to plant them! 

If you've never had a Canna before, here are some ideas of where to use Canna lilies in your own garden space!

Shop Canna Lilies

Re-blooming Canna Lilies

Canna lilies (Canna indica) are tropical and subtropical herbaceous perennials that produce lush, colorful flower spikes during summer. Their large and showy paddle-shaped leaves add to its exotic look. Our classic Canna varieties we offer have won the title of "Cool Product" at the Tropical Plant International Expo (TPIE). These beauties bloom in all heat climates and are re-bloomers throughout the growing season. Canna lilies are the most colorful and striking with various warm colors, and the palm-like leaves are often just as exotic.

Pretoria Bengal Tiger & Brilliant Orange Beauty Cannas

Are you a "tiger fan" for whatever team you cheer for? Then the Pretoria 'Bengal Tiger' canna lily may be a great backdrop to your next tailgate party! Its bicolored orange flowers and variegated yellow and green striped leaves will win you a few points in your garden! Anything with variegated leaves turns into double-delightful, and we think this one will be too!

Another one is as warm as the sunshine. It is Brilliant Orange Beauty. This one is also a stunning influencer in the garden bed. Couple it with some purple flowers nearby to set it off, and it will be a team player with the rest of your plants! It blooms all summer, and it's also an excellent screen if you need one for your backyard barbecue . It grows from 4-5 ft. tall and wide!

Madeira & Tenerife Cannas

This next one combines the brilliant oranges with a yellow tinge on its petal margins, giving it this frilly appearance. It's to-die-for-gorgeous. You're going to absolutely l o v e it! The Tropical Madeira Canna lily. It's a sunset and a sunrise all in one! 

This one is the best size for pots, in my opinion, because it grows a little bit shorter--up to 3 feet. It's called the Canna (teh *nr*ee*fae) 'Tenerife,' named after the largest of eight Canary Islands off West Africa. These are stunning in the landscape as well. Again, couple them with a contrasting color like blue Lobelia that can also take moist to wet soil, cut them both, and bring them inside because it makes beautiful arrangements.

Exquisite Cleopatra & Red Atlantic Beauty Canna

We love the name of the next one. Exquisite Cleopatra. The name reminds us of its namesake lounging under the Jurassic leaves of the elephant ears and eating grapes. Doesn't she sound exotic? Everything you ever wanted to be, and it's in a flower! Right?! She has orchid-like blooms in orange and gold with these tiny little orange freckles. She grows around 24-36" tall. And the leaves on the underside are black. Can you say d r a m a? 

Then double the drama with the next one and set off some fireworks. It's the Red Atlantic Beauty Canna. Look at these red petals, and there are so many flowers! It's lush, gorgeous, exquisite, and D, all the above!

White Alaska Canna

Now, we know you may need a calm place to sit down and stay awhile and meditate after all that excitement! Prop your feet up, sip your favorite beverage or do your zen thing. The next Canna (but not the least!) is the White Alaska canna. It grows 24-36" in height and blooms all summer. It's just serene, elegant, and sophisticated, reminiscent of a bride coming down the aisle in her finery. It's perfection in all its glory. 


Now, which one is your favorite? Let me know which one you get and tag us on Facebook and Instagram! 


Now that you have your cannas, what to do next? Find out next! 


Best time to Plant Cannas

Check your planting zone for the last frost date on to help with this. Generally, when the soil temps are at 70°F in late spring or early summer, and after the last frost, it's time to plant! And if you're not sure about the soil temp, wait until the daytime temps reach 60-70°F consistently for about 2-3 weeks. Another way is to get your kitchen meat thermometer and stick it in the soil where you're going to plant them and check that way. (We won't tell your mother about this.) 


Deep and Wide

Canna rhizomes are sized by the number of eyes or buds they have. The more eyes, the larger the rhizome is, and hence, more blooms and leaves will sprout. Plant in soil that has warmed to 70°F and plant these 4-6 inches deep horizontally (with the eyes/buds facing upward) and two to three times the width of the rhizome. 



So, for these, dig the hole down 4-6 inches and wide. Add 1/2 compost if your soil is compact. If you have clay soil, it will need amendments to fluff it up so oxygen can get to the roots. Mix in some bulb fertilizer with it to nourish the rhizomes. Plus, give it some 3-1-2 fertilizer mixed in water once a month. 

Water initially and then be sparing with the irrigation to prevent root rot until sprouts appear above ground. (We love our plants sometimes too much and water them to death!) Shoots will take about three weeks to emerge in soil that is at 70°F. 


   Size Plant Spacing Container Size

1/2 eyes     2-3 feet     36 inch


Plant in full sun where the spot gets 6-8 hours of sun a day. If you are in a hotter climate, they can tolerate some shade in the afternoon heat. Canna lilies enjoy consistent moisture (but not soggy) each week, therefore water three times a week if the average rainfall isn't plentiful.


Planting tips for Canna Lilies

  • After blooming, prune the stalk down to the Plant's base to stimulate more stems and blooms.
  • They have an upright habit that can extend up to 6 feet tall, making it a lovely screening plant or a bold statement in container plantings. And bonus, they attract hummingbirds to the garden!
  • Continue to apply fertilizer each month until six weeks before the first frost in the fall. 


We hope you're looking forward to this season and planting these gorgeous canna lilies. If you've never tried these before, you're going to enjoy the vibrant colors they bring to your garden space. Send us a picture of your cannas on Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #livelyroot so we can see where you are displaying yours!

Shop Canna Lilies 

If you have any questions about your bulbs or other plants, email us at or ask in the comments below.


Until the next time, have a lively day!