Credit: Katie McIntosh

‘Bengal Tiger’ (syn. ‘Pretoria’) Striking gold and green striped leaves with orange flowers. Can be grown in shallow, warmish water, about 15°C. (1.2 to 1.5 m) (Hawaiian Botanicals)

‘Cleopatra’ A chimaera – meaning it can’t decide what colour it wants to be! Often with petals half red and half spotted yellow. The foliage is usually all green but sometimes striped purple. (2 m)

‘Durban’ Reddish-purple leaves are striped with yellow veins. Red flowers (1.5 m) (Hawaiian Botanicals)

‘Phasion’ (syn. Tropicanna TM) Unusually striking with purple leaves that have dramatic yellow and red variegation. Orange-flowered form of ‘Durban.’ (2 m) (Hawaiian Botanicals)

‘Picasso’ Gorgeous dwarf cultivar having yellow flowers dappled with red spots. (60 to 90 cm) (Veseys)

‘Pink Zulu’ (syn. ‘Pink Futurity,’ ‘Liberty Pink’) Much admired for its open pure-pink flowers and paddle-shaped dark foliage. (2 m)

‘Rosamond Coles’ Semi-closed tulip-shaped flower, red with yellow borders and unusual in that the back of the petals is yellow. (2 m)

‘Striped Beauty’ (syn. ‘Nirvana’) Green leaves, pinstriped white. Flowers are yellow with a maroon centre and a white stripe down each petal. (1.5 m) (Hawaiian Botanicals)

‘Tropical Rose,’ ‘Tropical Pink,’ ‘Tropical Red’ Three dwarf cultivars that can be grown from seed. Great for containers. (45 cm) (Stokes Seeds)

Canna Companions

The following plants make excellent companions for the canna lily. • Caladium bicolor (angel’s wings, elephant ear) – zone 10* • Colocasia esculenta (taro) – zone 10* • Dicksonia antarctica (Tasmanian tree fern) – zone 9** • Hedychium densiflorum and H. coccineum (gingers) – zone 8 • Hedychium gardnerianum (ginger) – zone 9 (mulch well in winter on the coast) • Musa basjoo (Japanese fibre banana) – zone 8* • Plectranthus spp. – treat like a houseplant in winter • Trachycarpus fortunei (Chinese fan palm) – zone 9 when very young (wrap trunk with burlap if severe cold threatens), zone 7 when older • Zantedeschia aethiopica (calla lily) – zone 8 (‘Crowborough’ is said to be even hardier)

*Lift tubers and store in a frost-free place in winter
**Grow outdoors on the coast but protect from frost by building a leaf-filled cage to protect the crown from frost.