Welcome to my zone 9a habitat garden near Houston, Texas.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I confess - I love cannas!

A press release from the All-American Selections Board of Directors has announced the first selections of All-American flowers for 2013. The first one brought a smile to my face. It's a canna!

The plant's name is 'South Pacific' and their description of it says that it has "showy, 4” flowers that bloom all summer long in a delicious shade of scarlet." It is a "floriferous bloomer" that  grows up 4-5’ tall, "providing a great grouping of specimen plants or a back-of-the-border focal point. The colorful blooms are produced on a flower spike held above the large leafed statuesque plants.
Home gardeners will love the robust nature and the many flower-laden branches it produces. ‘South Pacific’ boasts 6-7 stems per plant and delivers larger flowers than other seed cannas. The scarlet flowers appear early, bloom consistently all summer and withstand a light frost better than comparisons. As with other cannas, ‘South Pacific’ tolerates wet conditions so it can be used as a pond border or in other similar growing conditions."

Yes, I know that growers and organizations that support growers do occasionally engage in a bit of hyperbole, but just look at that picture! Isn't that gorgeous? And isn't it something that you would like to have in your garden?

Well, maybe not. Some gardeners are seriously prejudiced against cannas as well as a lot of other "old fashioned" plants that are "too easy" and "not a challenge." Some object to the canna's big, bold, brassy flowers that scream "Look at me!" They prefer a bit of subtlety and reticence in their plants.

There's something to be said for subtlety, of course, and I can understand the need of accomplished gardeners to move on to something that challenges them. To each his/her own. It takes all kinds of gardeners to make a world of gardens.

But as for me, I continue to have a soft spot for the old-fashioned, tried and true, easy plants like cannas. Or crape myrtles. Or daylilies. Or crinums. Or...any one of a dozen or more other old faithfuls. And 'South Pacific' looks like a real winner to me, one I would be happy to add to my garden, because when it comes to be battle between the canna-haters and the canna-lovers, I'll take my stand with the lovers.  


  1. "South Pacific" is pretty, and we like cannas too; neighbors gave us many red and also orange cannas so we have about 20 clumps growing along our alley. They just shout "hello, tropical" with their bouncy colors.

    1. Indeed they do, Terra. Most of the ones in my yard are passalong plants, too, which just makes them extra special.

  2. I grew up in south Texas, where the lush blooms of cannas, crape myrtles and oleanders were so commonplace that I didn't pay attention to them...and it's only been in the past decade that I've come to really appreciate the plants that can not only survive a Texas summer but produce a wealth of flowers. These days I'm definitely on the canna-lover side, too, and South Pacific's a beautiful red.

    1. There's a reason why these are considered heritage plants, Amy. They have been grown and found to have the right stuff by generations of gardeners. They are tough and resilient plants. We too often take them for granted.