There are about a dozen Canna Lily (Canna spp.) species. The genus of colorful flowering plants hails from South America.
While you can certainly create an interesting and varied garden by simply mixing and matching a wide variety of Cannas, you can generate even more interest by adding companion plants that share the Cannas’ love of warmth, sun, and well-draining soil.
Excellent Canna Lily Companion Plants
Canna lilies typically bloom late in the summer, so it is desirable to pair them with other large garden plants that provide foliar and floral interest. More on growing Canna Lilies here.
Elephant Ears (Alocasia, Colocasia, and Xanthosoma) are members of the Araceae family of plants native to India and Asia.
You may also hear them called Taro. True to their name, these plants are well-known and appreciated for their large, elephantine leaves.
These plants are typically winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 8 and above.
Sunflowers come in over 70 varieties ranging from 3’ to 9’ feet high.
These fast and easy-growing North American native annuals thrive in all parts of the United States during the warm summer.
Make your selections according to availability and your personal preferences. Follow packaging directions for best results.
Amaranth is a useful and pretty perennial plant that produces edible leaves and attractive panicles of yellow or magenta flowers that transition into a very high-quality grain.
This easy-to-grow plant can attain a height of 9’ feet and often springs up as a volunteer around bird feeders.
Dahlias are perennial plants native to Mexico and South America. In fact, they are the Mexican national flower.
They are grown from bulbs and are available in 42 species. Flower forms, colors, combinations, and blooming habits are almost limitless. All are spectacular!
Hydrangea typically likes a shady spot or a spot with morning sun. Even so, with some strategic positioning, a row of these full, thick shrubs can make a nice backdrop for your Cannas.
There are several different varieties of Hydrangea, each with its own significant light and temperature needs.
Leaf and flower formation differ somewhat from one type to the next, but all do have full, pretty flower clusters in shades of white, blue, and pink.
Hibiscus comes from the West Indies and is available in about 300 varieties. Some are annuals, and some are perennials. Some are shrubs, and some are trees.
All hibiscus are members of the Mallow family and produce pretty, exotic, tropical-looking blooms that perfectly enhance the appearance of your Cannas.
Choose the variety you prefer according to your location and desired result.
Any of these choices planted alongside or amongst Canna lilies provide a fascinating mix of large, colorful leaves and bright, bold flowers.
This article discusses growing Cannas and provides smart tips to help you pair them perfectly with the best companions.
Read on to learn more.
Subtle Companions Make Your Cannas Pop!
Canna lilies on their own provide great interest in terms of both blooms and foliage.
Because of this, you can choose to go with plants that are large, dramatic, and colorful (such as those listed above).
Or you can take a different direction and enhance their boldness with the subtle textures and colors of ornamental grasses or plants such as:
Brazilian Vervain is also known as Tall Verbena. This “see-through” plant is intended to fill empty vertical space in a perennial flower garden.
Very attractive to pollinators, its leaves and lavender blossoms are small and delicate.
Asparagus fern is a small, lacy, delicate green shrub from South Africa. It is not actually a fern but a member of the Liliaceae family of plants.
This pretty, easy-to-grow space filler may become invasive in conducive settings.
False Indigo is native to the prairies of North America. This plant has folk medicine uses and was once used to make blue dye.
It has small, attractive grayish green leaves, pretty, deep blue flowers, and a sturdy, upright growth habit.
Yarrow is a member of the Asteraceae family of plants. It grows wild throughout the United States and Canada.
The wild variety produces dome-shaped clusters of tiny white flowers.
Cultivated varieties are just as hardy and are available in shades of red, pink, gold, yellow, and white.
Choose The Right Companions For Aquatic Canna Hybrids
While most species of Canna lilies like well-draining soil, it’s important to know that some varieties (e.g., Canna glauca) are actually hybrid aquatic plants and do well in low-lying areas or even on the verge of ponds or in water gardens.
Aquatic Canna lilies look great accompanied by:
Arrowhead Plant (Syngonium podophyllum) are best planted in a tropical setting. This perennial member of the Araceae family of plants is usually kept as a houseplant.
Still, it can be kept outdoors year-round in a shady, jungle-like setting in areas such as Florida.
Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is a fast-growing, free-floating water plant that produces showy blooms in lavender/blue with yellow centers.
This tropical plant comes from the Amazon basin and may be invasive in similar settings.
Lizard Tail (Saururus cernuus) is native to the southeastern and eastern United States and eastern Canada.
The plant has pretty, heart-shaped leaves and attractive white, fluffy, plume-like flower spikes. It grows well in swampy settings.
Like Attracts Like
Clearly, aquatic hybrid Cannas are best accompanied by aquatic plants.
However, the main thing to remember when choosing companions for your terrestrial Canna lilies is that the plants you choose should thrive in the conditions your Cannas prefer.
Perennial plants accompanying Canna lilies must be able to survive in USDA hardiness zones 7-11.
They must like full sun (6 hours a day), and well-draining soil richly amended with organic matter and mulched to retain just the right amount of moisture.
Remember that (like most plants), even though terrestrial Cannas like slightly moist soil, it is important not to allow them to stand in stagnant water because this will promote root rot.