The Red Canna, Canna indica, is a superb tall plant with gorgeous foliage and bright vermilion red blooms. Growing to around 150cm (5ft) tall, the wide banana-like leaves add a tropical feel to the garden. The imposing spikes of flowers sometimes with gold spots or flames in the petals have four outer petals and a smaller inner petal. Like all Cannas it does best in a rich moist to wet soil, but it can also flower in shade, which makes it easier to keep moist. It is ideal to plant at the back of a border where it is in full sun, or to add color to a partly shady area. Canna indica can also be grown in poorly drained areas and in shallow ponds. Given an early sowing in spring, it will start flowering from June and is quickly clump forming, making 8 or 10 flowering shoots by the end of the first season. Cannas can’t help but be focal points: a single specimen can anchor a circle bed. Great for every garden and a perfect choice for the exotic garden, the bright blooms begin in midsummer and continue until frost, for year after year of enjoyment. C. indica is a perennial. It is native to tropical America. Zones 7-11.
The seeds have a hard seed coat that has to be treated, or scarified, in order for water to enter the seeds so that they can sprout. The seeds can be planted outdoors at any time of the year or they can be grown in containers and then transplanted when they are large enough to be transplanted.
- Scarify the seeds by filing a notch in the seed coat or use sandpaper to sand part of it down.
- Soak the seeds in water for 48 hours.
- Plant the seeds individually or in group of 4-5 in a small pot with potting soil.
- When the seedlings are over 6 inches tall, they can be transplanted into larger pots or they can be transplanted outdoors.