Cannas can be grown in borders or containers. They are grown from rhizomes (underground stems), which you will find for sale in late winter in bags of shredded paper, or sold loose. Cannas are easy to grow from rhizomes, but you can also buy plants over the summer.
They are tender plants, but in warmer parts of the UK you can leave the rhizomes in the ground with a covering of mulch.
Starting off rhizomes
Start rhizomes off into growth in March by planting in 20cm (8in) pots using multi-purpose compost. The rhizomes should be just covered with compost, leaving any young shoots exposed. Water lightly. Keep the rhizomes at a temperature of 10-16°C (50-61°F), such as in a heated greenhouse or sunny conservatory. If heating is not available, delay potting until April. Increase watering as growth develops.
Planting in borders and containers
Move the plants to a cool greenhouse in mid-April and gradually harden off before planting out at the end of May (or when the last frosts have past).
Plant about 75cm (30in) apart, 10cm (4in) deep. In borders, choose a sheltered, sunny spot and soil that has been improved by digging in well-rotted manure or garden compost. Also apply a general purpose fertilizer, such as growmore, at 70g per sq m (2oz per sq yd).
If growing in containers, use one at least 30cm (1ft) wide. Fill with a John Innes No. 3 loam-based compost and add a controlled-release fertiliser. Plant the rhizomes at the same depth as in borders (see above).