Indian shot (Canna indica)
Indian shot (Canna indica) also known as Canna lily is cultivated both for its dramatic foliage and for its exuberant flowers. Despite their name, these Cannas are originally from South America. Here we will learn how to plant indian shot.
In this article
Plant profileCommon name: Indian shot, Canna lily, Arrowroot, Achira, Flowering reed, Flowering shot, Indian reed, Tous-les-mois
Scientific name: Canna indica
Plant type: Bulbs
Height: 1.5m - 3m
Spread: 10cm - 50cm
Foliage color: Bronze, Brown, Green, Red, Variegated
Flower color: Orange, Pink, Red, Yellow
Season of interest: Autumn, Spring, Summer
Sunlight: Full Sun
Soil: Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Moisture: Moist but well drained
Garden type: Architectural, City & Courtyard Gardens, Coastal, Informal Garden, Patio & Container Garden
Planting type: Containers & Pots, Flower borders and bedding, Low Maintenance
Cannas are ideal for extravagant tropical environments, can be used as standout plants in a flower bed or as a focal point in large pots.
Its leaves are large and fleshy, oar-shaped and can have an immense variety of colors. There are varieties that range from green to dark brown, and there are many that have stripes or are variegated.
The canes bloom from summer to early autumn, and come in a wide range of colors, from red, orange, yellow and also pink.
How to plant
Cannas are frost tender rhizomatic plants. So, they must be protected in winter and should only be planted outdoors after the danger of frost has passed.
Plant them in fertile soil that retains moisture but drains well. Indian shot are hungry plants, they like water and nutrients regularly.
Plant in a place with full sun as they need sun and heat to flower well.
In autumn, at the first frosts, cut the stems and leaves at the base.
Depending on your region, apply a layer of mulch (eg compost, leafmould, straw, sawdust) over the rhizomes, or lift and store them in a frost-free place during winter.
There are dozens of varieties of Canna indica, we highlight the following:
Canna Striata (or Pretoria)
Canna ‘Striata’ grows up to 1.5m and 50cm wide.
It is a plant that does not go unnoticed in the garden. It has broad green leaves streaked with yellow stripes and produces bright orange flowers from mid-summer to early autumn.
Canna Durban (or Tropicanna Phasion)
Exotic foliage has very contrasting warm color stripes. This canna can reach 1.2m in height and 60cm in width.
It produces bright orange blossoms that appear from late summer to autumn, making them a tropical addition to mixed borders.
The easiest way is in spring, when planting the rhizomes, divide them into parts. These new divisions will flourish in the same year.
I have a guide on how to plant canna rhizomes, just click the image below:
It is also possible to propagate indian shots by seeds in spring. Soak them for a while in warm water, or gently sand the seeds to break the dormancy before sowing them. Seed-grown plants usually only flower in the second year.