Myself, I started to attract hummingbirds. The Robert Kemp variety has worked very well for me. If any of you do the same, what other varieties might work as well or nearly as well?
That's one of the reasons I started planting them too. I picked President. Right color but the wrong variety. The canna idica types seem to be the plants that really attract the hummers. Next year I am adding C. Patens and C. Marabout. Both plants are supposed to be hummingbird attractive.
Cannas were the first plants I ever grew. I had just moved to the country, and my MIL showed up at my house with a large box of canna rhizomes. I didn't want them. I had no interest in planting them, but I knew if I didn't plant them my MIL would be upset with me for letting them die, so I did plant them eventually. Little did I know this would start me on my all time favorite hobby - gardening. Cannas are still one of my favorite plants, 21 years later. :)
I saw a 1 gal pot at Home Depot with amazingly colorful variegated leaves, but it looked a bit "sad." This was toward the end of summer (I realize now its growing season was slowing) about six years ago. I was determined to make it "happy" and I transplanted it into a 10 gallon pot for its first winter. When it out grew that after two years, I put it in the ground. Two years after that, I divided it and now I have two clumps about 1 x 4 feet ready to be divided again! I'm mostly certain I have Canna Tropicana, and it's pretty darn happy!
Cannas thrive so well here that they're popular for "old ladies gardens" & landscaping at gas stations!
certainly nothing to get excited about, for a new gardener like me wanting to show off her skills (groan).
but about 10 years ago, I went to a garden show with a new acquaintance who had just moved here from The Netherlands.
When we got to the booth where they were selling a dozen named canna rhizomes for about $8, she went into orbit!
She bought a bag, & her excitement must have been contagious:
My aunts still can't believe that I *bought* cannas!
one dozen Conestoga rhizomes x 10 years = ...a real whole bunch of cannas.
In the meanwhile, I've been given cannas, I've gotten them at swaps, & on one memorable occasion, I rescued a bunch of wilting cannas from where they had been discarded by the side of the road (those turned out to have wonderful bright yellow flowers with vivid orange spots)!
& today I'm a lot more humble about gardening & grateful for the "bang for the buck" my garden gets from cannas.
They grow everywhere, you can mow them down, they don't go dormant for the most part, few bugs, people will let you dig them from their yards-then laugh at you behind the door, what kind of nut WANTS canna?, butterflies like them, cheap easy fill plants.
Oh, and they multiply like crazy so you can trade them off to people in the north for "good" plants! :)
A few years ago, I started to notice big canna plantings during the summer months.
The giant bronze-purple canna caught my eye especially, and I began asking around.
At first, I was told that they would only grow in water, or very near to water. But,
when I examined plantings, I noticed that most canna weren't growing in water. So
I dug up a few from a friend's property (which, incidentally, were growing
in a shallow stream bed). They grew so well that my father got involved, and now
it seems that we add a few new canna each year. Our canna are pushing up through the
leaf-mulch as I type, and are receiving a gentle rain-watering.
I fell in love with the big bold tropical looking leaves, and was really hooked when I found out how easy they are to care for here in central Alabama. And the very pretty flowers are an added bonus- lol !!
I bought a box of miserable looking President roots from Sam's and was stunned at what grew.
Tropical, hardy, low maintenance, colorful, easily divided or propogated from seed.....
I can go on and on. My favorite plant. Along with the banana,,, So the canna and the banana. Er,, oh yeah, elephant ear, that two. Or three.
Oh forget it, I like all tropicals!
I saw a beautiful yellow canna a few years back in a Cape May, NJ nursery and fell in love with it. The guy told me it was a perennial and I could leave it in the ground overwinter. Boy, was he wrong:0( By the end of that summer, one canna turned into a whole clump that I killed by leaving in the ground overwinter. I am now smarter after finding GW and will never buy another canna again...I've been starting from seed- just so easy and so beautiful:0)