Canna edulis
Achira

Cannaceae

Canna edulis

Canna edulis, or Achira, is native to the West Indies and South America. They are vigorous growers and will reach 10 ft (3+ m) in nature, but usually reach about 4-6 feet (1-2 m) in containers. The tubers are used as food in the Andean Mountains and it is the source of Arrowroot starch in Australia. They are hardy in USDA zones 7-12.

Blooming Time: In the greenhouse, they bloom all year long. The small 2½ inch (5 cm) long flowers are red with an orange to yellow lip. Although they are small, they are still quite showy.

Culture: Canna edulis need full sun to partial shade with a well-drained soil. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 1 part peat moss to 2 parts loam to 2 parts sand or perlite. The soil is kept moist at all times for optimum growth. Plants are fertilized on a weekly basis with a balanced fertilizer. They are very vigorous growers and will out grow most containers very quickly. Division of clumps in containers should be done on a yearly basis. As flowers fade, the stalks should be cut back to the ground.

Propagation: Canna edulis are propagated by division and by seed. The hard seed coat needs to be scarified and soaked in water for 24 hours. Seeds germinate in 14-21 days after sowing.

Canna edulis was featured as Plant of the Week January 10-17, 2003.

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