Canna lily

If you are looking for exotic blooms and foliage for your garden then Canna lilies are amongst the easiest to grow and the hardiest. While the native to the tropical and subtropical regions of the New World, most shop-bought, selected cultivars have been developed in temperate climates. So hardy are these cultivated varieties that they can be left in the ground to overwinter in the milder regions of southern England.

Canna lily seeds -
Just be aware that when collecting seed from selected cultivars the resulting plants are unlikely to grow true to the parent plant. That being said, there is a chance (a slim one) that you may actually produce an even more spectacular hybrid!

You can collect your own Canna lily seeds at the end of the autumn. When the seed pods become dry they open up to reveal black seeds inside which can be easily squeeze out. Healthy Canna lily seeds are a dark, brownish-black color, and are round or slightly oval shaped. Any seeds that are cracked, misshapen or not the right color can be discarded.

The seed coats are hard to to break dormancy will need to be soaked for a few days before planting. To improve water take up consider nicking the the seed with a sharp, sterilized blade or file down the seed coat until the whiteness of the endosperm becomes visible.

Canna seedlings -
Sow during January or February into a large modular seed tray or individually into 3 inch pots containing a good quality compost such as John Inness 'Seed and Cutting'. Cover the seed with their own depth of compost. Gently water, then place the tray or pots inside a heated propagator at an approximate temperature of 21-24 degrees Celsius. Alternatively, seal inside a clear polythene bag and place on a warm, bright windowsill. Avoid direct sunlight during the warmest part of the day. Germination will usually take just a week or so.

Once the root systems have established in their pots or modules they can be potted on into larger pots, Keep the compost moist but not waterlogged.

Once the threat of late frosts have passed they can be harden off over a week or so before planting out into their final position. Canna lilies will perform best in a sunny, sheltered position in a moist well-drained soil.

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