My first cannas were a bright buttery clear yellow and a bright buttery yellow with orange speckles. Unfortunately, I no longer have these lovely plants in my yard. They outgrew their welcome, which cannas tend to do. I gave them to a friend who has a home with a huge yard that he is planting in bits and pieces as he receives plants. However, in exchange, he did bring me one red canna. Trying to contain it, I've got it in a pot where it will only grow so much. Even though I'll have to prune and trim frequently, I'll still have a canna to enjoy.
Cannas love full sun, but can tolerate some shade. They may not flower as freely, but their colorful leaves add a striking effect to the shady garden. Cannas are self-sufficient and grow all by themselves without much help from me. I fertilize them three or four times a year with a 20-20-20 product and make sure they get watered, then just sit back and enjoy them. If you have a boggy area, cannas are wonderful as they don't mind having wet feet.
Growing cannas is not necessarily easy because they are considered a labor-intensive plant. The flowers don't last long and need to be trimmed or you'll end up with a really untidy plant. (Or you could grow them in your teenager's room.) I cut off the fading flowers as they are done blooming and when the last bloom is gone, I cut the entire stalk off at the ground. Never fear, another will grow in its place. As they increase in size, I'll dig them up, divide them, and find someone to share in the bounty. (Been there, done this!!)
Canna bulbs can be left in the ground year round in central Florida. The plants may die down to the ground in the winter time. If your canna bed is not in a conspicuous spot, the old canes can be left as fertilizer for next year's crop. Cannas will add a tropical touch to your garden, however, the flowers do not last long enough to make a good cut flower. They will quickly fill a space and greedily reach out for more so make sure you have room for them to grow.
Cannas are susceptible to frangipani rust, an orange colored rust that appears on the leaves and stems of the plants. When you first see it, remove the leaves and stems immediately. If you don't (as I did not) it spreads unchecked. The best method of control obviously is prevention and cleanliness. If you monitor your plants several times a week (walk around the yard and look at all your plants) you'll find fungi eruptions like this early enough to take care of them quickly and safely. Cannas grow so fast that you can take out an entire stalk, even if it hasn't bloomed yet, to help eliminate the rust. Our famous Florida humidity is partially to blame for this fungi, but if gardeners are vigilent, they can overcome it.
If you notice your leaves being chewed, the most likely culprit is a caterpillar called a leaf roller. During the day, they sleep on the underside of the leaf inside a little bed that they make out of portion of the leaf. They wrap it around themselves and then glue the side to the leaf. At night, they turn into ravenous little beasties that will quickly strip your plant. They are fairly easy to find, though, and remove. Again, it just takes monitoring your gardens.
These are the two original cannas that I grew in my yard. One on the east side with afternoon sun and one on the north side, but out in the open where it, too, could get afternoon sun. That seemed to work fine for both plants. Thinking back, I would have kept one bulb of the clear yellow canna and put it in a pot. But, that's hindsight for you!
One interesting item I found while researching the frangipani rust definitely falls under the heading of trivia. Another name of the common canna is Indian shot because the hard, round seed made a suitable ammunition substitute when needed.