How to Plant and Grow a Canna Lily

What You'll Need
Canna Lily rhizomes
Peat moss
Cardboard box
Liquid fertilizer
Organic material

The vibrant color spectre of the canna lilly makes it an attractive choice for many home gardens. The flower is available in many varieties of vivid yellow, orange and red. Leaves fall between varying shades of green and purple. This suitably adds to the color scheme of the landscape. Lillies grow best in loose, well-drained soils. They require plenty of sunlight but will also tolerate some shade. Following is a guide to help you plant and grow.

Step 1 - Obtain Rhizomes

It is best to use the root tubers to propagate. Seeds are slow in sprouting. Besides, they may not give you a plant similar to the parent. Earmark a mature, well-established and disease-free Canna Lilly. Lift the roots immediately after the first spring frost appears. Try and lift the entire clump intact. Cut the stem about 2 inches from the rhizome. Place the roots in a cardboard box or a container with peat moss. If you store them in a box, cut some holes into the box to allow air circulation. This will prevent mold and rot from attacking the roots. Keep them sufficiently moist so that they do not dry up. Store in a cool, dark place like the basement until you're ready to plant.

Step 2 - Prepare Soil

Proper preparation of the soil is key to successful propagation. Till the soil well with a trowel. Add in some peat moss to boost nutrition content and mix well.

Step 3 - Plant

The best time to plant is after last frost disappears in spring. This will ensure that the tubers are not discouraged in growth by cold weather conditions. Identify a place in the garden where full sunlight is received. Dig holes into the ground about 5 inches deep. When planting several tubers, be sure to leave about 2 feet in-between to allow spreading. Cover the tubers well with soil. Apply some water and keep the soil evenly moist. However, do not create soggy soil conditions as the tubers will be unable to breathe properly. They are also likely to rot if the soils are drenched. The plant should flower in 2-3 months.

Step 4 - Mulch

Once the plants become established, place some mulch around the stems. Keep the lillies mulched in the summer and winter. This will help the soils to retain moisture so that not much is lost through evaporation. Soil temperatures will be maintained within an ideal range when mulch is in place. This is ideal for healthy root development. Mulch will also limit weeds from sprouting. A 3-inch layer of mulch will suffice. Do not pack it closely to the plant stems as it will obstruct proper breathing. Mulch attached to the stems may also cause fungal infections.


  • Feed your Canna Lillies with a slow-release granular fertilizer twice a year. It will encourage healthy and abundant blooms when in season. Foliage will also be healthier and more vibrant in color.
  • Plant several tubers at the site of choice. This will yield a more beautiful landscape when they grow.