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

September 5, 2013

Thinning out cannas

It's September 5th and now that the summer rains are over, and the worst of the summer heat is over too, it's time to thin the cannas.

Cannas are beautiful, but they are a lot of work once they start growing well. I use the landscaper's trick of laying out a tarp, tossing the cut stalks on it, rolling it up, and disposing of them. It's still a lot of work! But it has to be done. There are several reasons for this.

The main reason is that cannas get ratty-looking very fast. The old leaves get sunburned and shredded on the ends. By the way, in the winter, they look pretty rough, too, so this is a two-times-a-year major project.

Another reason is that they make too much of themselves. I also noticed last night that they were getting as tall as the pygmy date palms, and were blocking my view of them. From a design standpoint, the cannas are supporting characters, not the stars of this garden, and they need to compliment the stars, not get in the way.

But the main reason is that it is the new growth that has that beautiful, rich, deep purplish color. The old growth becomes an ordinary green. So I am going to continue to cut back hard!
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