Inspiring Canna Lily Flower Bed Ideas to Brighten Your Garden

Do you want to improve your outdoor space with beautiful canna lily garden ideas? These bright flowers are the key to making your backyard a beautiful tropical oasis. Read on to learn how these simple but effective ideas can make your garden the talk of the neighborhood!

With their gorgeous blooms and vibrant foliage, canna lilies are one of the best ways to inject vibrant color into your garden flower beds. Their tropical flair adds an exotic element while their height provides stunning vertical interest.

Cannas make excellent focal points and background plants, blending beautifully with other flowers and foliage. Take advantage of their versatility and try these creative canna lily flower bed ideas:

Colorful Cannas as a Backdrop

One of the best ways to utilize cannas is as a back border or backdrop to shorter annuals and perennials Plant a row of canna lilies along the back of a flower bed, positioning taller varieties in the rear and shorter types in front

Popular tall background cannas include:

  • Pretoria – Grows 4 to 6 feet tall with green leaves and orange-red blooms
  • Musifolia – Reaches 6 feet tall with green leaves and glowing red-orange flowers
  • Durban – Towers 5 to 6 feet tall with green leaves and fiery orange-red blooms

For a medium height backdrop go with cannas like

  • Erebus – Matures at 4 to 5 feet tall with dark purplish-bronze leaves and small dark red flowers
  • Wyoming – Grows 3 to 5 feet tall with green and white variegated leaves and orange blooms
  • Orange Punch – Reaches 3 to 4 feet tall with green leaves and bicolor orange-red flowers

In front of the canna backdrop plant a mix of annuals like zinnias marigolds, petunias, and salvias. The cannas’ tropical blooms and foliage make the perfect showstopping frame.

Cannas as a Living Screen

Another fantastic way to incorporate canna lilies is by using them as a living screen or privacy fence. Take advantage of their height and tight growth habit by planting a dense row of cannas along a garden border or around a sitting area to add privacy.

For a tall border, space the tallest canna varieties like Pretoria, Musifolia, and Durban 2 feet apart in a single line. Medium height cannas can be planted 18 inches apart. Focus on growing cannas from rhizomes instead of bulbs for tighter spacing.

Mix cannas with fine-textured grasses like Maiden Grass, Fountain Grass, or Pampas Grass for added texture and privacy. As an alternative to grasses, plant low hedges of boxwoods, arborvitaes, or hollies in front of the canna screen. The contrasting textures create visual interest.

Cannas as Focal Points

The huge tropical blooms of canna lilies make them ideal for use as focal points within flower beds and borders. Plant a grouping of 3 matching cannas in the center of round or oval shaped beds. Or place cannas at the intersection of two garden paths to create an eye-catching feature.

Some top large-flowered cannas to try as focal points include:

  • Australia – Dark burgundy leaves with brilliant red 3-inch blooms
  • Bengal Tiger – Green and white striped leaves with large orange bi-color flowers
  • Cleopatra – Purplish-red splotched leaves bearing yellow and red blooms

Surround your focal point cannas with fine-textured filler plants like lantana, petunias, sweet alyssum, or flowering tobacco. This contrast makes the cannas really stand out.

Cannas in Containers

Don’t limit cannas to flower beds – they also make showstopping container plants! Choose medium dwarf varieties that grow 3 to 4 feet tall so they don’t outweigh the pot. Excellent container canna picks include:

  • Tropical Rose – Pink spotted leaves with rose-pink flowers
  • Orange Punch – Compact grower with orange bi-color blooms
  • Pretoria – A dwarf variety with orange flowers and 4 foot max height

Plant cannas in the center of large pots as thriller plants, surrounded by cascading or mounding annuals like verbena, petunias, or scaevola. You can also grow a single canna as a focal point in a container mixed with fine-textured plants.

Provide plenty of moisture and fertilizer throughout the season. Move pots to a sheltered spot in winter or grow cannas as annuals and replace them each year.

Mixing Cannas and Elephant Ears

For a truly exotic tropical display, plant cannas together with elephant ears. The dramatically shaped elephant ear leaves perfectly complement the lush blooms of cannas.

Try pairing:

  • Black Magic elephant ears with Tropicanna Black cannas
  • Chartreuse Giant elephant ears with Tropicanna or Pretoria cannas
  • Black Ripple elephant ears with Australia burgundy cannas

Mix several groupings of both plants throughout the bed for bursts of contrasting textures and colors. Both cannas and elephant ears love heat, humidity, and ample moisture, so take care to provide sufficient water and rich soil.

Cannas and Water Gardens

Looking to add color to a pond or water feature? Cannas are ideal since they can grow right in the water. Plant cannas in containers, then submerge or place the pots at the edge of the water. Their lush foliage and flowers appear to float atop the water.

Some top water garden cannas to try include:

  • Canna glauca – Narrow blue-green leaves with tiny yellow flowers
  • Australia – Dark leaves and red blooms create drama
  • Pretoria – Bright orange flowers stand out against green leaves

Mix cannas with other water plants like taro, papyrus, and umbrella palm. The bold cannas will add striking vertical elements emerging from the water.

Dramatic Cannas and Dark Foliage

For an extra dramatic tropical look, plant cannas alongside plants with very dark burgundy or purple foliage. The interplay of the vibrant cannas against the darker leaves creates striking contrast.

Some excellent dark foliage pairings include:

  • Dark sweet potato vine
  • Dark purple coleus
  • Persian shield
  • Pineapple sage
  • Dark lettuces like Romaine or Rubyn

Try combining the burgundy leaves of Australia canna, dark coleus, and sweet potato vine for an intensely colored tropical bed. Or plant bright green and variegated leaved cannas like Pretoria next to deep purple foliage.

Cannas and Grasses

The elegantly arching leaves of ornamental grasses pair elegantly with cannas’ tropical flair. For vertical contrast, plant tall background grasses like maiden grass, Moor grass, or pampas grass behind shorter canna varieties.

For textural contrast, intersperse medium height clumping grasses amidst groupings of cannas:

  • Fountain grass
  • D

Are canna lilies deer-resistant?

Even though no plant is completely safe from deer, canna lilies are less likely to be eaten by deer than other garden plants, which makes them a better choice.

FAQ: Canna Lily Garden Ideas

Canna lilies prefer full sun but can tolerate partial shade. However, they may not bloom as profusely in less light.

PSL Landscaping Tips & Ideas: How-to Use Canna Lilies Around Your Home!


How to landscape with canna lilies?

When deciding what to plant with canna lily, focus on plants with fine-textured leaves, such as ornamental grasses, carex or ferns. Or pair canna lily with fine-textured annuals, including cleome, tall Verbena bonariensis or asparagus fern.

What looks good with cannas?

Enclose it with cannas! While cannas always look great on their own, consider pairing them with other big and assertive plants such as elephant ears, dahlias, sunflowers, amaranth and kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate.

How many canna lilies should I plant together?

Spacing: Leave 18-24 inches between plants in the landscape. If growing Cannas in containers, select a container that is at least 18 inches in diameter, and plant one rhizome per pot.

Where is the best place to plant canna lilies?

Best flowering occurs in full sun in organically rich, moist, and well-drained soils. Canna lilies will survive in the shade, but the best flower production is obtained in full sun – except in hotter climates where part shade will enable the flowers to last longer.

How to plant canna lilies?

Plant canna lilies along the borders of your garden beds or walkways. Mix different varieties to create a colorful display of red, orange, yellow, and pink flowers. 2. Tropical Oasis Create a tropical oasis by planting canna lilies with other tropical plants like hibiscus, bird of paradise, and elephant ears.

What are Canna lilies?

Canna lilies are flowering plants known for their large, colorful flowers and tropical appearance. People typically grow canna lilies in gardens and as potted plants, often using them as a focal point in mixed beds or borders.

What plants go with canna lilies?

The best way to pair these exotic plants with canna lilies is by placing them as a background plant behind your cannas. You can also use the shrub plant as a centerpiece and plant cannas all around it to create a very beautiful focal point in your garden.

Can you put canna lilies in a pond?

Submerge a container of canna lilies in a pond on an underwater shelf or nestle pots of cannas along pond edges to serve as marginal plants. A canna lily also works well in a container water garden. Just be sure your water garden pot is large enough to fit a mature canna plant.

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