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

October 5, 2014

Canna flower in the Phoenix, Arizona area

If you live in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area (which to me, includes from Tucson to Las Vegas and all of the way to Southern California) and are not growing cannas, you are missing out on a lot of tropical beauty. And they're easy to grow, if you use a few tricks.

Cannas are practically water plants, so give them a LOT of water! Here in my backyard they do best in an area that gets afternoon shade, and that was pretty boggy when I tried to grow grass there, many years ago. I've had these cannas (which are Canna Tropicannas, by the way) for many seasons here, and they're doing great. So great, in fact, that I have to keep after them all of the time, and cut them back very hard.

Cannas are grown mostly for their beautiful tropical foliage, not their flowers. The flowers don't last very long, and can look ratty if neglected. What I always do is to enjoy the flowers for a day or two, and then cut down the entire stalk, right to the ground. It's the new growth that looks so lush, so don't be timid - cut the old stalks back!

In addition to being generous with water, and cutting them back fiercely, be generous with fertilizer. I use the plant food spikes that I get at the Dollar Store, plus I give them a drink of water mixed with Miracle-Gro regularly. By the way, I only water on the lower leaves, as Phoenix water is hard, and leaves spots. Never on the top leaves!

The Phoenix area got a lot of rain recently, so I'm expecting a spectacular show from my cannas all the way through January, when they will wilt from frost. But they don't die. At that point I cut them back down to the ground again, usually in February, and they grow right back, like wildfire!

They will be looking their best during the next few months.
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