Canna is a genus of plant that contains 19 different wild species. All species of Canna are flowering plants, and most have large, flat leaves. The plants naturally live almost exclusively in tropical regions of the Americas, though most species can be cultivated to live in cooler regions of the world. Due to the plant’s attractive appearance, the species are regularly displayed in gardens worldwide.
There are two different groups of Canna species: wild and horticultural. Wild species are those found living in the plant’s natural conditions, and there are nineteen of these. Horticultural species are those that exist due to cultivation. These type of plants became popular as garden plants several hundred years ago, and at one stage there were a large number of cultivated species. Today, however, many of these no longer exist.
Wild species are widely distributed in central tropical regions of the Americas. Many are found from Argentina up to the southern states of the USA. There are also regions where the plants have spread, due to mankind’s influence. As long as a region receives, on average, more than six hours of sunlight per day, it is suitable for growing the plants.
Aside from garden plants, there are numerous different uses for Canna plants across the world. For example, farmers often make use of the high starch content of species of the genus. Seeds of Canna plants are used for a variety of purposes, including jewelry. There are also a number of decorative cultural uses for certain species across the world, mainly due to the large and attractive flowers.
Some species are more popular than others. For example, the Canna Lucifer, so named for its large red flowers, is commonly seen in garden designs worldwide. Other examples include the Canna Pretoria and Stuttgart which both have orange flowers. Although most of the plants are perennial, there are some that can be grown as annuals, depending on the region and climate.
There are several conditions required to grow Canna plants, although they are, in general, relatively easy to cultivate compared to other genera. Aside from six hours a day of sunlight, the plants also require soil that isn’t too moist. An area that is sheltered from strong winds is also advisable. Certain pests such as snails and beetles can harm the leaves of the plant although this will usually not affect the life cycle or overall health of the plant.