Know All about the Varieties of Canna Lily

If surrounding yourself with colors makes you feel happy, then canna is the right path to gain happiness. Canna lilies are among the most colorful summer bulbs. They grow in a huge variety, with flower colors ranging from vibrant reds and oranges to peaceful yellows and whites, and leaves in the hues of green and bronze. Buzzle gives you a glimpse of various canna flowers.
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Varieties of Canna lily
A Gift for Someone You Love!
Cannas are a traditional gift for Father's Day in Thailand.

Exotic and tropical, Canna is a genus of 19 species of flowering plants, and is the only genus in the family Cannaceae. It is actually cousins to bananas and gingers, having large paddle-shaped leaves in the shades of green and bronze. However, flowers are a major reason cannas are so expensive.

The name canna has originated from the Celtic word "reed" or "canes". They aren't true lilies. Cannas gained momentum in the Victorian times as garden plants and were grown widely in places like France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Canna Species

Canna species and cultivars dwell in temperate and subtropical regions and are widely grown in the garden. There are around 19 species in the wild form. These species have been categorized by two different taxonomists, viz., Paul Maas from the Netherlands and Nobuyuki Tanaka from Japan in the last three decades. Both reduced the number of species from the 50 to 100 that had been accepted previously, and assigned most to being synonyms.

Canna amabilis

Canna amabilis
  • Native region: Northern Argentina (Chaco)
  • USDA Hardiness: Zone 10
  • Flowers: Deep crimson red to pale yellow flowers with many seeds.
  • Foliage: Large, spirally arranged
  • Height: 2 - 4 m
Canna bangii

Canna bangii
  • Native region: Peru and Bolivia
  • USDA Hardiness: Zone 10
  • Flowers: Orange-red, erect, 4-7 cm long
  • Foliage: Green
  • Height: 4 m
Canna coccinea

Canna coccinea
  • Native region: Northern Argentina
  • USDA Hardiness: Zone 10
  • Flowers: Raspberry red flowers, orange or red staminodes
  • Foliage: Deep green
  • Height: 2 m
Canna compacta

Canna compacta
  • Native region: Southern Brazil and Northern Argentina
  • USDA Hardiness: Zone 10
  • Flowers: Dark orange-red erect flowers
  • Foliage: Lush green, medium-sized
  • Height: 2 m
Canna discolor | C. achiras | 'Brick Canna'

Canna discolor
  • Native region: Northern Argentina
  • USDA Hardiness: Zone 10
  • Flowers: Red, or hues of peach and white
  • Foliage: Green
  • Height: 3 m
Canna flaccida | Water Canna

Canna flacida
  • Native region: Wetlands of southeastern USA
  • USDA Hardiness: Zone 10
  • Flowers: Large, slightly perfumed, yellow
  • Foliage: Narrow; glaucous (blue-gray)
  • Height: 1.5 m
Canna glauca

Canna glauca
  • Native region: Wetlands of tropical America
  • USDA Hardiness: Zone 10
  • Flowers: Delicate, pale yellow, pale orange
  • Foliage: Glaucous leaves
  • Height: 1.5 m
Canna indica | Indian shot | Bandera

Red Canna indica
  • Native region: South-eastern United States
  • USDA Hardiness: Zone 10
  • Flowers: Magenta, scarlet, bright yellow
  • Foliage: Blue to burgundy, bronze-green, glaucous
  • Height: 0.5 - 2.5 m
*Note: The species Canna stenantha is a synonym of Canna glauca, and likewise, Canna plurituberosa is of Canna indica L.
Canna iridiflora

Canna iridiflora
  • Native region: Peru, Columbia and Costa Rica
  • USDA Hardiness: Zone 10
  • Flowers: Large, hanging, pink to red
  • Foliage: Large, green
  • Height: 5 m
Canna jacobiniflora

Canna jacobiniflora
  • Native region: Wetlands of tropical America
  • USDA Hardiness: Zone 10
  • Flowers: Scarlet, orange
  • Foliage: Green
  • Height: 3 m
Canna jaegeriana

Canna jaegeriana
  • Native region: South America and the Caribbean
  • USDA Hardiness: Zone 10
  • Flowers: Usually curved, small, orange
  • Foliage: Green, very large, oblong-shaped
  • Height: 5 m
Canna liliiflora | Scented Canna | White Canna

Canna liliiflora
  • Native region: Peru and Bolivia
  • USDA Hardiness: Zone 10
  • Flowers: Lily-flowered, long, honeysuckle-scented
  • Foliage: Linear-oblong, tinged-green
  • Height: 3 m
Canna paniculata

Canna paniculata
  • Native region: Southern Mexico, Costa Rica, and tropical South America
  • USDA Hardiness: Zone 10
  • Flowers: Shades from red to yellow
  • Foliage: Sessile, green
  • Height: 5 m
Canna patens

Canna patens
  • Native region: Northern Argentina
  • USDA Hardiness: Zone 10
  • Flowers: Yellow with wide-red margin
  • Foliage: Small-sized, green
  • Height: 1.5 m
Canna pedunculata | Canna buekii Weinm.

Canna pedunculata
  • Native region: Southeast Brazil
  • USDA Hardiness: Zone 10
  • Flowers: Erect, yellow, relatively-small
  • Foliage: Green, glaucous, relatively-narrow
  • Height: 2.5 m
Canna speciosa

Canna speciosa
  • Native region: Tropical America
  • USDA Hardiness: Zone 10
  • Flowers: Bicolored flowers, scarlet petals
  • Foliage: Large, stalkless, gracefully arching
  • Height: 2 m
Canna tuerckheimii

Canna tuerckheimii
  • Native region: Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, and Ecuador
  • USDA Hardiness: Zone 10
  • Flowers: Orange-red
  • Foliage: Large, green
  • Height: 4 - 5 m

Canna Cultivars

A large number of ornamental cultivars have been developed. They can be used in tropical plantings, borders, and as a patio or decking plant.

Canna apricot dream
Canna Apricot Dream
Canna bengal tiger
Canna Bengal Tiger
Canna cleopatra
Canna Cleopatra
Canna eureka
Canna Eureka
Canna indian shot
Canna Indian Shot
Canna madame crozy
Canna Madame Crozy
Canna president
Canna President
Canna pretty butterfly
Canna Pretty Butterfly
Canna queen charlotte
Canna Queen Charlotte
Yellow canna italian
Yellow Canna Italian

Cultivar Flower Color Foliage Color Height (m)
Angel Pink Translucent apricot and peach with slight yellow throat Green 2½ - 3
Apricot Dream Buff salmon with rose throat markings Gray-green 2½ - 3
Bangkok Yellow Red bud opens to clear yellow with white throat Green with white striping 2 - 3
Bengal Tiger Brilliant orange Green with white stripping 5 - 6
Bittersweet Light red-orange Green 4
China Doll Hot pink Green 3
Cleopatra Yellow with red speckles and streaks Green, sometimes with purple streaks 3 - 5
Crimson Beauty Crimson with faint yellow streak from throat Green 3
Dawn Pink Bright pink Burgundy 2 - 3
Erebus Salmon pink Glacous green 3 - 4
Futurity Orange Red-orange Bronze 2½ - 3
Indian Shot Peach with its lighter shades, white throat Green 3 - 4
Intrigue Smooth blending of red, orange, and yellow Gray-green with brownish veins 2½ - 3
Louis Cotton Light shades of yellow-orange Bronze 2½ - 3
Madame Butterfly Soft yellow, shaded pink Green 3
New White Creamy, almost white Green 4 - 5
Orange Blush Salmon pink Green 3
Pacific Beauty Pumpkin orange Gray-purple 6
Picasso Lemon yellow and white, spotted uniformly with blood red spots Bright green 2 - 3
Pink Beauty Pink petals with slightly gold edge Green 3 - 4
Pretoria Bright orange Green and yellow foliage with red pencil edging 3 - 4
Red King Humbert Red Bronze red 6
Red Stripe Small, bright red Large; purple with green pattern between veins 3 - 4
Salmon Pink Salmon Pink Green 2 - 3
Taney Orange - apricot salmon Glaucous green 4 - 5
The President Scarlet red Green 3½ - 5
Tropicanna Gold Orange or yellow Green with gold stripes 3 - 5
Tropicanna Black Tangerine Purple-black 3 - 5
Valentine Blood red Green
Wyoming Bright orange Green with brownish edge 6 - 9

With their reedy canes and palmy foliage, cannas would be wonderful even if they never bloomed. Decide upon the one that attracts you and fulfills the climatic criteria in your region. Grow canna lilies, and do tell us about your experience. Keep loving flowers!
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Published: August 7, 2014
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