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

July 6, 2013

Caring for cannas in the summer in the desert

Cannas are great, but unfortunately they can get looking ratty pretty quickly. We had a serious heat wave here in the Phoenix area recently, and the cannas here got pretty badly beat up. That's the bad news. The good news is that, if you are brave, you can chop them down viciously and they will return like crazy.

Cannas are grown for their foliage, not their flowers - although they do flower. So when the foliage started to getting all sunburned recently, I chopped off as much as I could. Then I watered and fertilized the cannas, and stood back. They grow fast!

If you want to grow cannas here in the desert, find an area that gets afternoon shade. This area is near the house, which shades it after about 2 pm. Give them as much water as you want - cannas are practically water plants, you can't over-water them. I use the moisture-holding crystals to help keep the area around them consistently wet, and to reduce my use of water (water is precious in the desert!). They are planted in deep, rich potting soil that has been enhanced with coffee grounds (I got for free at Starbucks). This area was originally a boggy area that didn't grow grass well when I first got this house. Not good for grass, great for cannas!
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