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Firecracker flowers

July 5, 2019
By H.I. JEAN SHIELDS - Garden Club of Cape Coral ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

It is not too late to plant some summer flowers. I highly recommend the tall Canna Lily plants. Large light green leaves curled tight to a tall slender stem of green will unfurl into nice large leaves, and the top of the stem will be full of a tumble of brilliant yellow, red or a mix of yellow and orange flowers. Kind of like fireworks!

This is an easy perennial herb plant, hardly any pests.

A large sturdy rhizome anchors the plant into most any kind of soil. Once watered in well, it thrives fine with watering from a nearby sprinkler. The local summer schedule of watering times is fine.

Cannas are in bloom from now until end of summer. They are easy care -- if a leaf or two looks bad or droopy, just clip it off, not hard.

Planting the hard rhizomes is real easy and thinning out the flowerbed is easy, and you will need to do that after a couple of years. A nice little gift to give a friend.

No special fertilizer is needed and one application a couple weeks after planting should be fine, until next year. It does not like low areas.

The hard rhizomes were actually a common household staple a long time ago. They seem to taste like a sweet potato. Steaming or boiling is the cooking method, for a coupe of hours. The rich starch in the rhizomes is used nowadays in some countries to make cellophane noodles.

You can plant Canna seeds, however, the seeds have to be scarified and soaked in water. It's easier to go to a big box store and buy plants already started.

A long holiday weekend is under way, so plant some colorful long lasting plants.

Cannas do well in full sun, partial sun and light shade. I had good luck with partial sun, one spot near a high old palm tree. The other area was on the north side of house without shade, but not a full hot sun either.

The tall Cannas make a nice statement planting and will increase over the years, so have space for their 5-foot height and wide grouping.

The dwarf verities are just as colorful and do all right in a large well draining pot.

The leaves may also be a bronze red color or even a verity with a light green leaf with light green striping.

Enjoy the holiday weekend with all the trimmings, being careful with scaring your birds with the firecrackers. Wear sunscreen, and let me know if you see any of our quiet little owls around wearing earmuffs.

Happy gardening till we meet again.

H.I. Jean Shields is Past President of the Garden Club of Cape Coral.



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