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Friday, August 29, 2014

My Favorite Plant in the Garden This Week...

...Is Canna 'Tropicanna.'

I have it planted in frost-proof orange pots in the front garden, where its striped leaves and bright orange flowers contribute mightily to the tropical theme. One pot is visible as you approach the southeast corner of the greenhouse.

Canna 'Tropicanna' with its companions -- a couple of orange Dahlias, a bright red Bromeliad, Aloe plicatilis and a variegated Echium

Fab flowers

Couldn't you just get lost in that?

Spotty, stripey goodness

Hot foliage too!

Echium and Bromeliad foliage

Bromelaid center cup with cast-off Dahlia petals

I wish I knew the name of this gorgeous Dahlia that I bought a couple of weekends ago at Flower World

I just adore the combination of orange and magenta

The second Dahlia is a shorter bedding type Dahlia with a smaller flower in similar colors.

Fallen Dahlia petals

Aloe plicatilis in an Esther pot with orange bowling ball and glass orb from Glass Gardens Northwest

The entire combo from a different angle

The Dahlias are still in their nursery pots because they're destined to eventually live in the bed behind the Canna. But for now, they make a nice homage to the Nichols garden, which I saw during last year's Garden Bloggers Fling in San Francisco. The Nichols garden was the inspiration for many of the changes I made in my front garden this year. You can read my post about that garden here. Canna 'Tropicanna' and orange Dahlias were a mainstay of that garden.

My second 'Tropicanna' Canna is planted in a matching orange pot in a curve of the recycled concrete wall, right next to a niche planted with Sedum 'Angelina,' a concrete Buddha face and a light green glass ball that was a gift from my neighbor Mary. It's not flowering yet, but the foliage is looking so beautiful.

'Tropicanna' foliage lit by the morning sun, with the matching colors of Digiplexis 'Illumination Flame' out of focus behind it

It's not the rarest of Cannas, but it's such a superb plant, I just love it! Although Cannas are hardy in the ground here, I'm going to leave these two in their pots and over-winter them inside the greenhouse. Last winter's prolonged cold knocked back my in-the-ground Cannas, to the point where they were very weakened and have barely made an appearance, just a couple of nubby leaves poked above the soil.

Here's some info about Canna 'Tropicanna.'

Height: 4-6 feet
Width: About one foot (although they do increase via offsets)
Hardiness: Zone 7b-11
Sun: Full Sun
Water: Consistent moisture, don't let it dry out

The orange pots I have them planted in do not have drainage holes. In the past I've put Cannas directly in the moving water of my back yard stream, and they've done wonderfully in that spot. They would still be there if not for the mischievous raccoons that destroy them while playing in the water, usually just as they're about to bloom.

You can also read more about 'Tropicanna' here at the plant lust website.

Loree at Danger Garden hosts the Favorite Plant in the Garden meme. You can read her current post here.


  1. Alison ,I love reading your Blog. I have this Canna this year. I like it for the foliage. I used a lot of orange this year. Keep up the good work.

  2. Love, love, love, all that orange! Tropicana is a star!

  3. That Canna is a show-stopper even without flowers. I'm surprised to hear that the raccoons will tackle even a plant that large - rude little beasties!

  4. Looking very good, Alison! I like all the combinations. My in-ground canna did exactly what you described - it showed several small leaves, moreover - it showed up very late in the summer, when I thought it was gone for good!
    Your garden looks tropical although it's late August!

  5. Beautiful flaming part of your garden. The foliage of the Canna looks stunning.

  6. Fantastic post. I have Bengal Tiger. Making a note to get Tropicana next year.

    Oh, your Dahlias in a pot!

  7. I love that Canna - especially that luscious foliage. They never grow well for me for some reason.

  8. And quite rightly so! Your Canna deserves to be a favourite. I love the striped markings. I haven't tried to grow tropical plants so far ... but I think I'm tempted to now :) Elizabeth xx

  9. Love love love the oranges, Alison. All of them, beautiful! I lost my aloe p. this winter... :( Bad Tamara....

  10. Canna Tropicanna and orange pot seems a match made in tropical looking heaven!

  11. You are doing a great job with your colors! What a wonderful plant. We have not done cannas here in our garden, but we did buy a purple one we will try in a patio pot next summer.

  12. Love those colours, canna and dahlias. Perfect together and very tropical!

  13. Beautiful foliage, cannas are a star in the late summer garden.

  14. Your gorgeous garden has me reconsidering my fear of orange in my own garden. Hmm...

  15. Wonderful photos, Alison! I especially love the first Dahlia photo and the bromeliad with the Echium.

  16. Such a beautiful plant! Mine that were in pots got left out last winter and, predictably didn't come back (although they made it through the previous year.) Forgot to replace them and now am sorry as they really do shine at this time of the year! Your orange garden gets more gorgeous each time you post about it!

  17. Oh I love canna but I have never tried them...I have a neighbor who grows some beauties. And wow that dahlia is the peachy color.

  18. It's so funny, although I don't do orange or red in own garden (on purpose), I do adore them in other yards. That first dahlia photo is gorgeous!


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