Canna indica

Source: Arz

Canna indica

Canna indica or Indian Shot is an herb native from tropical America that is now widespread throughout the tropics around the world.

It is the source of many cultivars and hybrids. Generally about 1 m tall but some varieties are giants. The leaves may be green, purple or variegated. The flowers vary from red to orange, yellow or variegated.

Most species are not hardy and must be harvested or protected by a mulch in winter.

Its large leaves are similar to those of banana (they are from the same order: Zingiberales) and flowering all summer until the winter give the garden a touch of exoticism.

The flowers grow on 1 long stem and bloom one after another.

Common names:

Achira, African Arrowfoot, African Arrowroot, Calenda, Canna, Canna Lily, edible Canna, English Shot, English Shot (South America), Fa’i Masoa, Fagamanu, Fanamanu, Gasau Ni Ga, Gruya, Gwangwa, Gwangwaama, Indian Shot, Indian-Shot, Luiuenwai, Mongos Halum-Tano, Nuaenga, Oruuru, Pia Renga, Pia-Raroto’a, Platanillo, Poloka, Poloke, Purple Arrowroot, Queensland Arrowroot, Queensland Arrowroot (Aust, Riti, Sierra Leone Arrowroot, South America), Tiare Papa’a, Toolima


Canna coccinea
Canna edulis


Tropical America (Caribbean)


The rhizomes are used to feed pigs.
The hard black seeds are used to make a musical instrument in Reunion.


USDA Zone 8, -10 °C


Fertile, moist, well drained

Height :

50 cm to 1 m, 3 m for the giant varieties


Division of rhizomes


Sun, partial shade for variegated varieties (to avoid the risk of sunburn to white areas)

Sowing instructions:

  • scarify the seeds
  • soak 24h in lukewarm water
  • sow in a light moist mix
  • 25-30 °C
  • germination is usually erratic and may take up to 1 year
  • for hybrids and cultivars, seed will often produce offspring that is different from the plant from which the seeds where harvested


  • tolerates drought but preferably water thoroughly in summer
  • regular fertilizer during the growing period
  • less hardy varieties can be harvested in winter or protected by a mulch
  • division of rhizomes: in March