Common name: Indian shot
Scientific name: Canna indica (Cannaceae)
Alternative common names: Garden canna; wild canna (English); tuinkanna; Indiese kanna (Afrikaans); udumbedumbe (isiZulu)
A perennial shrub with erect, leafy shoots 1-2m high. Large green or purple-bronze leaves sheathing the stem. Narrow flowers are red or orange, usually yellow below and the plant produces green, spiny fruits
The flowers are composed of three sepals and three petals that are seldom noticed by people, they are small and hidden under extravagant stamens.
Planted as an ornamental, the seeds are also used as beads in jewellery
How to Grow Canna From Seed:
Canna seeds have to be prepared beforehand by softening the seed coat to encourage germination. There are 2 ways in which to soften the seed coat, namely by soaking or scarification.
You should start the process at least one to two months before you plan to plant it outside. Germination usually takes one to two weeks.
Soaking – Canna seeds should be soaked in water for a minimum of 24 hours. Some recommend using lukewarm water for soaking. Make small depressions in the potting medium and put in the seeds. Cover with the medium and water.
After planting the seeds in the medium and watering, the container should be covered in plastic wrap and kept warm indoors. A constant temperature of 21-24 C is necessary to initiate germination. You can use a heating pad to maintain the temperature.
Scarification – Another method to encourage canna seed germination is by rubbing off a bit of the seed coat before planting. Use a file or sandpaper to scrape off the seed coat. You should keep rubbing until the whiteness of the endosperm becomes visible. Scarified canna seeds can be planted directly in the medium without soaking, as water can easily get across the seed coat now. But the container should be kept warm throughout.
Canna lily is a monocot, with just one seed leaf emerging first. When the seedlings are over 6 inches in height, they can be transferred into pots.
Planting in the garden should be attempted only after all danger of frost is over.