This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

June 7, 2013

How to care for cannas in the desert

Cannas grow fast. Plants that grow fast have an advantage, and a disadvantage, for the gardener. The advantage, of course, is that they fill an area very quickly. The cannas you see here grew this tall in a couple of months. The disadvantage of fast-growing plants is the need for constant maintenance.

To keep cannas looking their best, you have to keep trimming them all of the time. It doesn't take long for cannas to start looking "ratty". Their blooms only last for a couple of days, and even the foliage begins to look a little rough fairly quickly. It's the new growth of foliage that looks best, and then, well, it's old. So the trick to it is to get out there and cut back viciously as often as possible. I go out and fill trash can bags full of foliage all of the time.

This is why cannas make very poor plants for your front yard. I have these in my backyard where I can tend to them constantly. I've seen cannas out front of businesses and they usually look terrible. This is not a criticism of the plant, or the maintenance schedule of the gardeners, this is just the way these plants are. They need constant attention. But to me, they're worth it!
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