CannaBotanical name: Canna generalisPronunciation...


September 14, 1991|By Amalie Adler Ascher


Botanical name: Canna generalis

Pronunciation: Kan-nuh

Family: Cannaceae (Cann)

Origin: South and Central America

Class: Tender perennial

Display period: Summer

Height: 2 to 2 1/2 feet

Environment: Sun Tropical Rose, a new canna debuting on the market next spring, is causing excitement in horticultural circles. A 1992 All-America Selections winner, Tropical Rose is being hailed as the first canna from seed with true, large canna-type flowers (similar in appearance to gladiolus) and a dwarf growth habit. Seed-grown cannas of earlier vintage bear inconspicuous blossoms that furthermore are buried among the foliage. The usual method of raising cannas is from tubers.

Under development for seven to eight years, the new variety is an origination of Takii Seed of Kyoto. The hard pellet-type seeds are easy to handle as are the seedlings with their sturdy, broad leaves. The bullet-like nature of the seed -- reputedly used as shot by the natives in the West Indies -- has given rise to the canna's popular name, Indian shot. In some countries the seeds are strung as beads. The Latin term, kanna, means reed, the plant's stem being reed-like.

The germination rate of Tropical Rose, according to Takii spokesmen, is 60 percent, with sprouting time varying from 10 to 25 days. Flowering takes place three to four months after sowing. Of the 20 seeds I started in the house in April under fluorescent lights for planting outdoors this past summer, 11 came up, some poking through the soil much earlier than others.

I grew my cannas in a row of eight in a 3-foot planter. Even when not in bloom, (which occurs between the time the first flush dies and another develops), the plants' bold bright green tropical-like foliage makes a dramatic display and an effective background for annuals.

Cannas form tubers by summer's end. The tubers are not hardy, but may be kept through the winter by storing them in a cool place. Their survival, however, is uncertain. With Tropical Rose, though, why bother saving old tubers?

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.