by CHIRS WINSLOW
The canna lily, once a popular landscape plant, has returned this season as a garden favorite with the introduction of new, exotic leaf colors and flowers.
Cannas are not true lilies, but are closely related to the family of gingers and bananas. Considered tropical and subtropical, they perform well in Hays County landscapes, providing a dramatic touch to our gardens.
Flower colors range from red to yellow and orange. Modern varieties exhibit larger flowers than older cultivars. Breeders have also added striking leaf colors that contrast well with the flowers.
Cannas need at least 6 hours of sun to perform well. Asleep in the winter months, they return with the warmth of spring and flower throughout the summer. They are traditionally cut back in the fall after the first freeze or frost. A layer of mulch will keep their roots warm throughout the winter.
Some new varieties to look for:
Australia – deep burgundy, black foliage with magnificent, large scarlet flowers. This cultivar can grow to 4 to 6 feet in height and doesn’t fade with the Texas sun.
Pretoria – also known as Bengal Tiger, this cultivar has green and white striped variegated foliage with hot orange flowers. Popular with the hummingbirds! Average height – 4 to 6 feet
Pink Sunburst – this dwarf canna grows to 3 feet and has red, green, and white variegated foliage with large, pink flowers.
Cannas also work great as container or potted plants, a great way to add color and accent to patios and entryways.
For those who grow water gardens, cannas easily adapt to an aquatic environment.
Question: Do you know of a safe way to get rid of snails and slugs in my garden?
One of the oldest techniques is to leave out a few saucers of beer. Slugs and snails love beer so much that they wind up drowning in it. Snail and slug bait with metaldehyde has been used for years but is unsafe for children and pets. The good news is that there’s a new snail and slug bait on the market that contains iron phosphate. This is safe for kids and pets, and simply becomes plant food when all the slugs have been killed.
Question: Any suggestions for heat tolerant summer annuals?
Top of the pops on my list are purslane, moss rose, and vinca. The first two are called ‘chismes’ in Spanish , which means gossip… and it’s true that purslane and moss rose do indeed spread like gossip. They also tolerate a lot of heat and drought. Vinca grows a little bit taller and comes in a world of colors. Vinca also has the added attribute of being deer resistant.
Happy gardening everyone!
If you have a question for Chris, send it via email to email@example.com. Or mail a postcard to It’s About Thyme: 11726 Manchaca Road, Austin, TX 78748 www.itsaboutthyme.com