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



June 10, 2014

Controlling cannas

Cannas have done great here at The Tropical Paradise, year after year. So much so, in fact, that it's quite a job controlling them.

Cannas thrive with water and shade. Where the cannas look their best here is what I call *Canna Forest*, which is along the east-facing wall of my house, turning the corner and going to just past where the dwarf date palms are. And although it looks sunny, now at 10 am, by early afternoon this area will be going very quickly into deep shade. This area in the photo is what I consider the edge of Canna Forest. And I want to control that edge!

So, I've done a couple of things. Firstly, I've gone in and dug up a few feet of bulbs. Literally dug down and pulled them up. That's where you can see the rocks on the right, towards the wall. The big rock, on the far right, is there to allow me to step behind where the cannas will be, and trim them. There is already a tiny sprout appearing (you really can't see it in this photo) between that triangle of rocks. Another thing I've done is to fix a leak in the misting system, which was much more severe than I had suspected. Water was just gushing into the ground, and since cannas like water so much, it was encouraging a lot more growth there than I wanted. It's now under control. At least I hope so!

Cannas can get ratty looking pretty fast, even under the best conditions, so it's good to cut them back hard. The flowers only last for a day or so, and when they're spent I cut the stalks down as low as I can reach.

By the way, these are Canna Tropicannas, which I got online at +Easy to Grow Bulbs, Inc. , but I've seen them at Home Depot. If you're familiar with planting bulbs, it's much more economical to do it that way than to buy them as plants in pots with soil and leaves. Prepare a planting bed with rich soil, and give them a lot more water than you think they need, then stand back. Your next job will be controlling them!
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