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

April 19, 2014

Beautiful cannas in Phoenix, Arizona

A friend of mine from California visited recently and was impressed by the cannas here in my backyard. He said that in California that they usually look ratty. And ratty is exactly the word, even here in Arizona. I've had cannas here at The Tropical Paradise for years and I've learned a few things to make them beautiful, not ratty. Here they are:

• Cut them back *to the nubs* every year in February. Yeah, it looks kind'a sad, but it's the new growth that looks so great. Old growth on cannas is, well, ratty. It's April 19th today and the cannas are really showing that beautiful foliage that I grow them for. Hey, there's even a bloom!

• Cut the blooms off quickly. Cannas are grown for their lush, tropical foliage, not their flowers. The flowers fade after a day, so don't let them sit there. I cut the flowering stalk as low to the ground as I can.

• If you live in the Phoenix area, avoid watering the leaves with a hose. Phoenix water is very hard, and leaves ugly hard water spots. The cannas here are watered by an automatic watering system that is towards the ground, maybe a foot or so. I've also made the mistake of watering with a watering can directly onto the top leaves. Big mistake. Don't do that. Water spots are ugly.

• Be generous with plant food. I use the little house plant spikes, which I get at the Dollar Store. Or you can use any dry fertilizer you like. Just feed them. They're tropical, and always hungry.

And there you go. If your cannas are ratty, don't blame it on being in Arizona, or California. That's just the way they want to be. But I would rather see them lush and beautiful!
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