Drinking in tropical pleasure

Tropicana canna
Tropicana canna
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I always thought Tropicanna was some sort of orange drink. But it’s a big world in which we live. Now I learn that TROPICANNA® canna (var ‘Phasion’) is a multi-hued tropical foliage plant that grows successfully in both the garden and pots.

The plant unfurls each new exotic-looking leaf “with a display of burgundy stripes fanning off a chartreuse centre vein. When backlit by the sun the leaves shimmer with an iridescent quality”.

Sounds wonderful – and it is, but cannas aren’t the most hardy of plants, so if you’re tempted to go out and buy one, bear that in mind and perhaps think of ways of protecting it from a British winter. A few days of frost will see it off for good.

If you live where frost is a rarity, you could try leaving the canna in situ outdoors. In autumn, as soon as the leaves begin to die back, cut foliage right down to soil level, and mulch heavily.

Alternatively, as soon as the leaves begin to die back, cut off foliage to about four inches, dig up the rhizomes and let them dry for a few days in a frost-free area. Then store them in a cool dry place for the winter. Divide the rhizome shoots and replant them, in pots, in the spring but don’t put them outdoors again until the danger of frost is over.

Or you could always grow cannas – including TROPICANNA – permanently 
as a houseplant to provide year-round indoor colour. As long as the temperature remains above 68 F and there’s plenty of light, the plant should be reasonably happy.

Water weekly during the spring and summer with a diluted fertilizer but 
stop feeding in autumn and give the plant a chance to rest. Always keep the soil/compost moist but never allow it to become waterlogged.

Canna is a genus native to tropical and subtropical regions of the New World, from the southern United States to northern Argentina.

Cannas (particularly C indica) are sometimes known as ‘Indian Shot’, as 
their seeds are small, round, and hard, like bird shot. They are used as pearls 
in jewellery.

TROPICANNA can be found at many garden centres across the UK, including DIY stores. For more information and a list of stockists, visit www.tesselaar.com