Canna Lily Care

Growing and Caring for Canna Lilies

Orange Canna Lily Flowers

The canna lily is an amazing plant that stands in a class all by itself, these garden beauties can work wonders, how do I know well because I have worked with them on many garden and landscape designs and have seen what they can do and boy can they dazzle with their beauty and charm.

The canna lily produces beautiful flowers that come in an array of colors and in my humble opinion these plants are a show stopper as they show off their flower bloom which is like non-other. What I love about canna lilies is they give that feeling of being in the tropics so for a tropical look the canna lily will give you what you are looking for.

The canna lily is an exotic garden beauty that is perennial which means once the bloom period has passed no worries because when the season arrives they will once again grace your garden and landscape with their dazzling flower bloom. In the colder regions, the canna lily is grown as an annual.

These garden plants are easy to grow and are low maintenance which makes the canna lily not only a winner but a must-have. If the canna lily has sparked an interest then continue reading as we explore the world of this amazing plant.

Planting Area

When installing your canna lily look for an area that gets full sun to install these beauties.

Soil Type

The soil type for the canna lilies should be able to hold the right amount of moisture but will allow excess water to drain. These plants love moisture so adding organic matter will help with moisture and drainage.

Watering Methods

As mentioned a bit earlier these plants love moisture so keeping the soil moist is a must but don’t overwater or allow the soil to become saturated because this will lead to root rot.

Fertilizing Methods

The use of a fertilizer that is high in phosphate will promote beautiful flower bloom. Read and follow the direction on the manufacturer’s label.  Another source of adding nutrients is with the use of organics.

Garden insect pest of the canna lily

Watch out for these garden pests.

  • Spider Mites
  • Slugs
  • Canna leaf rollers
  • Snails
  • Thrips

Spider Mites

Spider mites are very tiny but can cause huge damage to our garden plants, to know if your canna lily has spider mites look for spider web along with your plant taking on a dusty appearance. What you can also do to further test your finding is to place a sheet of white paper under the plant’s leaves and gently shake or tap.

If it is spider mites you will see tiny specks or spots moving around on that sheet of paper and if the infestation is very server you will feel them crawling around on your hands. Spider mites also cause yellowing of the leaves followed by leaf drop, removing the infested leaves along with leaves that are dead and applying insecticidal soap or horticultural oil will bring this garden insect pest under control.

The canna leaf rollers

These garden best are the larvae of the canna lily butterfly, The larvae have a large black shiny head and are yellow in color. Infestation includes the young leaves failing to open along with yellowing of the leaves. The use of Bacillus thuringienis will bring this garden pest under control.

Snails and slugs

Snails and slugs cause damage to canna lilies by eating holes in the leaves which can cause your lilies to look very unattractive. Handpicking them and throwing them into a bucket of soapy water or applying snail bait will bring the infestation under control.


Thrips can cause server damage, I have had many challenging experiences with them. The adult thrips are tiny and slender, with colors of black, brown, or yellow. Their babies resemble the parents and are yellow to light green.

The damage of thrips includes white patches on the plant’s leaves along with streaks and slivery speckling this damage is caused because the fluid is being extracted from the plant by these garden insect pests. A serious infestation may also cause leaf drop, twisting of the leaves, or the leaves being deformed. The use of insecticidal soap will offer some help.

Diseases of the canna lily

Red Flowering Canna Lily
  • Canna Botrytis Blight
  • Canna Rust
  • Canna Viruses

Canna Botrytis Blight

The beginning stage of this disease is white growth on the leaves, fungal spores which are gray and tiny attaches to the flower buds, dark spots also develop on the leaves. Discolored streaks may also be seen along the base of the plant.

Rainy humid conditions encourage this disease. To keep your canna lily free of botrytis blight or to at least bring this disease under control water in the morning because this will allow the plant to dry before dark sets in also water your lily from the soil level and not allowing the water to splash on the leaves.

The removal of infected plant parts including spent or faded flowers and keeping the plant bed free of debris along with the use of a copper-based fungicide will offer some help.

Canna Rust

This fungal disease is encouraged by soils that are saturated with water, long periods of humid conditions, and poor air circulation.  Symptoms appear as orange spots on the leaves of the canna lily, the upper parts of the canna lily leaves develop a brown-blackish appearance which causes the leaves to drop prematurely.

Installing your lilies in well-drained soil, avoid wetting the plant leaves, giving them a spacing of 1-2 ft along with 6 hours of sunlight will help. Infected plant parts should be removed.

Canna Viruses

There is no known cure for this disease, the symptoms of this virus shows up as patches of dead leave tissue, stunted plant growth, yellow spots develop between the leaf veins, molted leaves, the flower blooms late, the best option is to dig the plant up from the roots and place it in a tightly sealed plastic bag or burn it. It is also recommended that garden plants that are growing near these infected plants should be dug up and destroyed also.

Where to install the canna lily

Here are just a few places to install the canna lily.

1. These garden beauties can be installed near a pond which will look pretty amazing.

2. Install them in containers and place the containers on your porch or patio.

3. What about installing them in containers and placing the containers on either side of your front door entrance provided there is sufficient sunlight.

4. Group them together in a plant bed for a  showpiece.

5. Use them as a backdrop in a garden plant bed.

Growing canna lilies from containers

When growing canna lilies from a container, ensure that the container is large enough to accommodate your lily. The container should have drain holes to allow water to drain, the soil should be a soil that is rich in organic matter to hold the right amount of water because canna lilies love moisture however when watering the soil should be moist and not waterlogged which can lead to root rot.

Canna lilies are known to be heavy feeders. The use of compost or organics will keep your canna lily growing nicely. The container should be placed in an area that gets plenty of sunlight, keep an eye out for garden insect pest and disease as mentioned earlier.

Deadheading canna lilies

When the flowers of the canna lilies are faded and tired it can really make your lilies look unattractive, to keep your lilies blooming the removal of these spend or faded flowers will encourage new blooms that is healthy and vibrant.

Deadheading will prevent your canna lilies from setting seeds causing them to focus their energy on flower production. You can either cut the spent flower stock down to the soil level or remove the spent or faded flowers but be careful not to remove the buds.

Growing canna lilies indoors

When growing and caring for canna lilies indoors follow the same methods as when potting in a container, the temperature can be anywhere from 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Place your canna lily close to a window that will provide it with at least 5-6 hours of sunlight.

Areas, where there may be a chill spot, should be avoided because this can cause the soil to dry while giving your canna lily a chilling experience which is not good. Humidity plays an important part in the health of canna lilies when growing indoors. Misting the leaves once a day will help to increase the humidity level. Follow the same methods when it comes to watering and fertilizing in the section on growing these lilies from containers.

The final word

Canna lilies are truly one of a kind that will give amazing results. These beauties are a gardener’s choice and have captured the heart of so many homeowners as well as beginner and professional gardeners. Canna lilies are a must-have that will flavor your garden as well as your interior plantscape so go for it and make this garden wonder a part of your world.


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About the author

+ posts

Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.

7 thoughts on “Canna Lily Care”

  1. These are truly beautiful flowers!  I feel like I can grow them from the instructions that you gave.  I have a hard time getting 5-6 hours of sunlight in any on spot in my house.  I really only get 2-3 hours.  Do you think a LED lamp would suffice for sunlight in this instance?

    • If sunlight is a problem then install grow lights will help so glad to help and may you have success with growing and caring for canna lilies indoors. Have a good day.

  2. I had a garden with lilys at home once, and they all died. Never really knew why but from what I read in this article, I think snails were the guilty pests. I think I will try to plant them once again this year. And make some changes to my garden to keep away all the possible pests, that are able to destroy my flowers. Really learned a lot from this post. Really good information 🙂

    • Hello so sorry to hear about your lilies but I am so happy to help and I hope that this time around you have good success. All the best to you and have a good day.

  3. What a stunning flower the Canna Lily is!

    I have just started working on my garden myself and have been looking for flowers to go around the natural pond that I have put in at the top of my garden and I think these would be perfect with growing with some Columbines, 

    What do you think about that combination?

    I read once that the Canna Lily will strive in damp soil conditions so I’m hoping these will be the perfect flower to plant there.

    Do you have any other options of flowers I could use to plant around the outside of my pond in the back garden?

    Thanks if you can help 🙂


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