580 Canna flaccidaCommon Names: Golden canna Family: Cannaceae (canna Family)
Golden canna is a tropical-looking herbaceous perennial that can get up to 4 ft (1.2 m) tall. The leaves are upright, thick and succulent with longitudinal veins and get up to 2 ft (60 cm) long and 6 in (15 cm) wide, decreasing in size upward on the stem. The leaf bases clasp the stem and each overlaps the next one above. The very attractive bright yellow flowers open consecutively in a terminal cluster. Each flower is about 3 in (8 cm) across, and the showy part is not made up of petals, but a modified style and three modified stamens, all of which look like petals. Only one of the petal-like stamens bears pollen. The petal-like style is in the center of the flower. The real petals are fused and form a tube at the base of the flower. Canna has rhizomes (underground stems) that constantly give rise to additional shoots.
Golden canna, Canna flacida, occurs naturally in wetlands, including marshes, savannas, and the edges of ponds and lakes, on the U.S. coastal plain from South Carolina to Florida and Texas.
CultureLight: Golden canna does best in full sun, but tolerates partial shade. Moisture: Cannas do best in moist soil, especially fertile soils that are rich in organic matter. They suffer during dry periods. Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 - 11. Cannas are grown in cooler climates, but they must be dug up after the first frost and the rhizomes stored indoors until spring. Propagation: Propagate by dividing the rhizomes. Be sure there is a bud or "eye" on each piece to be replanted.
Plant golden cannas in areas with moist soil or in areas where you will be able to water during dry periods. Canna has medium tolerance to drought and to salt spray, and tolerates acidic to slightly alkaline soils. Golden canna is often planted in masses in borders. A clump of golden cannas next to a garden pond adds color and structure. Dig up the rhizomes and divide them every 2-4 years. Golden canna can also be used in planters.
The many cultivated cannas, which may be red, pink, yellow, striped or variegated, are of complex hybrid origins, the ancestors of most now largely forgotten. According to some authorities, two hybrid species, each with dozens of cultivars, may be recognized. Canna X generalis includes the French cannas and common garden cannas, which usually have smooth flowers less than 4 in (10 cm) across. Canna X orchiodes, the orchid-flowered cannas, are characterized by crinkled flowers up to 6 in (15 cm) across. Golden canna was the principal parent of Canna X orchiodes. These days, cultivated cannas are usually given cultivar names only, without attempting to assign them to a particular hybrid species.
Steve Christman 10/29/99; updated 2/22/00; 5/5/06, 6/23/09