An In-depth Look At How To Plant Cannas Bulbs

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Last Updated on January 11, 2022 by Cristina

How to plant cannas bulbs is the first step in growing this bold, tall, and colorful flowers that grow from a rhizome.

Canna lilies are known for their beautiful foliage that varies in colors with bright blooms and a majestic growth habit.  Gardeners who live in warm climates are familiar with canna lilies as they easily grow perennials. Those who live in colder areas may know Canna lilies, but they don’t do as well as warm climates.

Fortunately, these flowers can be grown in most areas of the United States either as a perennial or an annual. If you want to add a tropical flair to a Northern garden or plant cannas bulbs in the heat of the South, this guide is here to help you.

How To Plant Canna Bulbs

How do you plant canna bulbs?  Canna lilies are grown from seed, rhizome, or a potted plant. Planting from a rhizome or bulb is the most popular way to grow these flowers. Canna lily rhizomes are bulbs that grow horizontally underground and store the plant’s energy.

The rhizomes have various growth points known as us, where the plant germinates. When buying the cannas bulbs, you will notice the sizes listed as 2/3 eye or 3/5 eye. The more eyes present, the larger the bulb tends to be.

How To Plant Canna Bulbs

Plant your canna lily bulbs at a depth of 2 to 3 inches deep and 2 times the width of your bulb. Place your canna lily bulb at the bottom part of the hole and cover it with soil fully. Add water upon planting to keep the ground and the bulb moist.

After planting, do not water your bulbs again until you see the plants germinating above the soil level. Excess moisture before the bulbs sprout can lead to rotting.

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When Is The Best Time To Plant Cannas Bulbs?

Canna lilies are native to the tropical climates of South and North America. These plants thrive in hot temperatures, with the planting time being spring or early summer.

The best time to plant cannas bulbs is after your soil has warmed up to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Your soil should be warm enough and moist but not overly saturated. Planting canna bulbs in damp and cold soil results in the rotting of the bulbs.

If you’re not sure what degrees your soil temperature is at, a good rule of thumb to follow is to plant once the danger of frost has already passed in your area. It is critical for gardeners who live in colder climates to wait until June to plant your cannas bulbs. However, you can consider starting them indoors and transplanting them when the time is right.

3 Orange Canna Lily Bụlbs – Lily Bụlbs (Rooted Rhizomes)


To start your cannas bulbs indoors, you will need a container with drain holes and a good planting mix. Starting them in pots will protect them from cold and damp conditions that are not favorable in the early spring. Once the lilies have sprouted and the danger of frost has passed, it is time to transplant your potted canna lilies into the garden.

The Ideal Place To Plant Cannas Bulbs

Cannas bulbs thrive in USDA hardiness zones 7 and above. They like hot and humid weather. This plant grows as a perennial in USDA hardiness zones 8 and above.  In USDA hardiness zone 3, canna lilies grow as annuals.

When choosing an ideal planting location in your garden, the first thing to consider is the area’s amount of sun. Canna lilies prefer direct sunlight and do well in areas with about 8 or more hours of sun every day.  Minimum, canna lilies require 6 hours of full sun.

This plant tolerates moist soil once they have sprouted from the bulbs. If you are planting your rhizomes directly in the ground, you will need to ensure the soil has adequate drainage.

These plants have a habit of growing a strong vertical plant up to 6 inches tall or more in proper growing conditions. Some varieties are considered dwarf and can only grow up to two to three inches tall.

Once you choose a sunny spot in your garden, consider the height your cannas will grow to before planting. Make sure it won’t be too tall or too short for the location.

Canna Lily Care

Once your canna lilies have sprouted from the rhizomes and are growing, it is easy to care for them.

Canna Lily Care
  • Since these bulbs are tropical, they enjoy a good amount of watering. Water them a couple of times each week, depending on the rainfall you’re receiving in your area. You will get the most growth from your canna lilies if you provide enough water.
  • Remove the spent flowers to keep a tidy appearance and allow more flowers to bloom.
  • Canna lilies produce clusters or round black seeds after they’re finished flowering. Birds are commonly attracted to these seeds and love snacking on them. If you wish to attract birds to your garden, you can leave the seeds on the plant.

Canna Flower Colors

The foliage and flowers of Canna lilies are beautiful and full of color.

The most common colour is green. Canna lily varieties like Wyoming Canna, Black Knight Canna, and Red King Humbert Canna have beautiful deep purple to bronze coloured foliage.

The Stuttgart canna is famous for its striking white and green variegated foliage.

Tropicana canna features green and yellow Finley striped foliage. All the colours foliage makes a statement even before the blooms come into place.

The canna lilies flowers have warm colours, with red, orange, yellow and pink being the most common bloom colours. These warm coloured blooms add to the tropical feel of the already warm canna lilies. The bright red, yellow and orange blooms of Canna attract hummingbirds.

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Overwintering Canna Lilies

Gardeners in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 7 will need to store the canna bulbs over winter. You will need to dig these bulbs from the garden and store them if you want to plant the same bulbs the following year. Dig these bulbs before the first hard frost of the fall. A light frost will not kill the bulbs but will damage the foliage.

Before digging up, the rhizomes cut the foliage back to at least 6 inches. Using a shovel or a garden spade, dig up the entire clump of bulbs. Remove as much soil from the bulbs as you can and allow them to dry and warm dry place.

Store your rhizomes away from any moisture or frost during the winter months. Allowed equate airflow to keep them from rotting


How to plant cannas bulbs is pretty easy and straightforward, and every gardener can grow these bold plants. The bottom line of each plant is to provide the proper growing conditions and growing maintenance.

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