To many people, cannas are old-fashioned plants and boring since we have been seeing them being planted just around anywhere. Besides, in Singapore, we keep seeing that few types and there isn’t any new varieties. What’s more, under our hot weather, the flowers do not last, the petals stick together into a mess as soon as the afternoon sun appears.
The reasons why I like cannas are the bright colours of their flowers which contrast strongly with their dark green foliage. We have the usual yellow, orange and red flowered ones that sport the typical green leaves and these are the ones that usually grow up to a meter or more in height. They are the tall ones.
Nowadays, it is not uncommon to see the dwarf varieties being sold in our local nurseries. They have a more interesting range of colours for their flowers, including various pastel shades of pink and pale yellow. White! This rare colour in cannas have appeared occasionally in the nurseries. I presume these are probably the seed grown stocks produced by nurseries.
An interesting observation of these dwarf varieties is that they grow “tall”, a piece of information I was told by a nurseryman. My take on this is because whenever a clump of cannas is to grow too crowded and due to the plant’s perception that there is less light, they grow taller to reach out for more light. I noticed this personally on the cannas grown in my community garden. When a bed of cannas is pruned down, the new shoots that appear are usually shorter than previously.
In the front part of my community garden that features a European-styled garden, you will be greeted by beds of cannas that are also neighours to Mrs Lim’s Yellow Bells tree. I only grow two kinds of cannas there, namely, the ones with leaves with colours other than green. Not only they have fanciful leaves, they also produce those flamboyant canna blooms like their green counterparts. That’s what I call “hitting two birds with one stone”.
One of the variegated canna cultivars I have is ‘Bengal Tiger’. Its leaves feature bright yellow and green stripes. It is perhaps the most prominent variegated canna which is known by a large number of synonymous names. More info can be found in this page on Wikipedia –
Perhaps the most common variegated canna, the leaves of ’Bengal Tiger’ has contrasting green and yellow veins.
The flowers of ‘Bengal Tiger’ look like those of the gladiolous.
Another variety I have has dark, purplish leaves. It also has orange coloured flower but are much bigger in size than ’Bengal Tiger’. Unfortunately, I am not too sure about the cultivar name of this variety. The lack of names on plants is a big problem with Singapore nurseries. Even if names are available, they can sometimes be incorrect.
The dark purplish leaves are unique in cannas. Hence I feel they make interesting subjects for tropical landscaping. Cannas like these should be used more often in Singapore!
The orange flowers of this cultivar is very outstanding. Look at how big the flower is!
The last variegated canna I have also has dark leaves. The plant is much taller than the previous dark-leaved canna and its flowers are red. From the descriptions of known canna cultivars, I think this plant I have is ‘Roi King Humbert’.
The red flowers of ‘Roi King Humbert’ are held high above the plant on sturdy stalks. The tip of the inflorescence is held higher than me!
Look how handsome this canna cultivar is!