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

February 28, 2014

Canna flower in Phoenix, Arizona

Yes, you can grow cannas in the Phoenix, Arizona area. But they're really not a very good "landscape" plant. That is, just putting them out in the front yard and forgetting about them is a mistake. They will grow here, and flourish, but only with a few tricks.

Before you plant cannas, be sure to prepare the planting area. Cannas are practically water plants, and they like deep, rich soil. I must have a million tons of potting soil here in the corner of The Tropical Paradise where the canna are, and I have mixed in almost as much coffee grounds (which I got free at Starbucks) over the years.

Cannas grow very fast, which is good. But they need constant trimming to keep them at their best. Their tips tend to sunburn (even though it hasn't been particularly hot yet this year) and it's only the new growth that shows off the beautiful deep reddish-purple that I am looking for with the foliage (look behind the flower and you will see what I mean).

The flowers only last a few days, they bloom in sequence, and to look their best you have to remove the spent blooms as it goes. When the bloom is finished, I cut the stalk all the way to the ground, as far as I can reach.

I planted these Canna Tropicannas a few years ago which I got online from +Easy to Grow Bulbs, Inc.  and they have multiplied like crazy. In fact, I have to dig them out along the edges and get rid of them. I have tried planting them in pots, but there are just too many. I started with six, I believe. Now there are hundreds.

The cannas will bloom and flourish until the heat of the desert summer comes on in May. Then they will look kind of sad, and I will avoid looking at them until the weather cools off again in September. They're in an area that gets afternoon shade, but in the summer, even that isn't enough.
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