Friday, 26 October 2007

Growing in Pots

Cannas are ideal pot growers, but they do need root space. It is no use growing a large Canna in a small pot. The growing rhizome will distort and possibly break a small plastic pot. Recommended pot sizes are:

Plant size




10 litres

3 gallons


20 litres

5 gallons


25 litres

6 gallons


35 litres

8 gallons


50 litres

11 gallons

If growing on a patio then a terracotta pot might be preferred for aesthetic reasons, but otherwise a black plastic pot with drainage holes and carrying handles for the larger sizes is recommended. They should be filled with either a good peat based compost or a quality loam. Some growers have been known to first half fill with rotted horse manure and then top up with a good garden loam.

Regular watering is a necessity, daily during long spells without water. The initial supply of nutrients in good compost will be consumed within a month and it is recommended then to feed with a balanced fertilizer at monthly intervals during the summer, supplemented by occasional liquid feeds, and at 3 monthly intervals over the winter storage period, as Cannas only slow down their growth over winter, and are not dormant like daffodils and other bulbs.

Unlike plants growing in the open soil of beds and borders, those restricted to containers have to rely on somebody to care for them. This commitment need not be onerous and for busy people the routine of watering, feeding and grooming their plants can be slotted in at the beginning or end of their working day. If anything, it provides a valuable excuse to slow down for half an hour.

Growing in pots gives a fine chance to grow not only Canna but to experiment with companion planting and growing many plants that may not normally have been considered. Providing a riot of colour for a summer showing on an otherwise barren patio or decking is something to look forward to on those long summer days and evenings. Equally, when most summer flowering plants have stopped their colour riot, the Canna and a select few can still provide a rich pageant of colour.

Basically there are two ways that Canna in pots can work for you. The first is as large architectural plants in a large pot and grown mainly for foliage and the tropical drama they bring to the patio or decking, in fact, some people remove the flowers as they appear so as not to affect the vigour of the foliage growth. These benefit from some companion planting, if only to bring colour and interest at soil level. The second approach is to use small, modern Cannas as the centrepiece of an artisitic colour arranagement. The contrast between various foliage colours, shapes and textures can make an aesthetically pleasing display.

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