Cannas: Lost Forever?

From America’s Expert Source for Heirloom Flower Bulbs
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Why We’ve Stopped Selling Cannas (Except One)

Although we love them, and we’ve worked hard to preserve and share the best of them with you, we’ve decided to stop selling all but one of our cannas — at least temporarily.

A new virus has been attacking cannas worldwide in recent years, and despite herculean efforts by our expert American growers, we became troubled by what we started seeing in our trial gardens and hearing from our customers.

We’re nationally acclaimed for delivering great bulbs, and that’s the only kind of bulb we want to deliver. When we can once again be sure that every canna we ship is superbly healthy, we’ll offer them again — and celebrate! But right now that’s beyond our reach.

Except for one — ‘Ehemanii’. It’s the only canna grown for us in a tiny nursery in Texas, and it’s still as healthy as can be.

And we’re not abandoning our other rare cannas altogether. With an eye to the future — and the possibilities that tissue-culture offers — our indomitable Missouri grower will continue nurturing the best of them as scientists, farmers, and enthusiasts around the globe search for solutions.

Coming to this decision has been a painful process. Our mission, after all, is to “Save the Bulbs,” and we feel for our growers. But we’re convinced that it’s the right decision.

Since there’s no cure, we recommend that you destroy any canna that has developed symptoms of the virus, including leaves that are twisted, mottled, or streaked (unless of course they’re supposed to be variegated). If we shipped you a canna that you think may have been virused, please accept our apologies and contact us so we can make things right.

Then with canna lovers everywhere we’ll look forward to brighter days ahead.

Learn more about the virus from England’s leading canna expert.

Learn more about cannas at our Newsletter Archives and History, How-To, and Resources page.

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One of our most sensuous cannas, ‘Alberich’ blooms in arching sprays of big, languorous bells of a soft, luscious, creamy peach. One of the top award-winners at the 2002 RHS Canna Trials, it’s named for the elf-king in Germanic myth (and Wagner’s operas) who forges an all-powerful gold ring. Look for it inside these flowers! 3-4’, green leaves, from Missouri. Last offered in spring 2010. Learn more.


Yes, we canna! From one small rhizome of this inspiring canna, we’ve finally built up enough to share. Over dark burgundy-bronze leaves, its flowers glow like, well, the rockets red glare. It was one of the first great “orchid-flowering” cannas bred from C. flaccida, the native canna of the southeastern states, and we can’t think of a better time to grow it than right now. 4-6 feet, from Missouri. Last offered in spring 2010. Learn more.

ASSAUT, 1920

It’s not just red, it’s EXQUISITE! We shivered with pleasure when ‘Assaut’ (say “Ah-SO”) first bloomed here. Its leaves are bluish-bronze and its voluptuous flowers are a pure, dark, luscious crimson that positively glows. Try one and we bet you’ll never scorn red cannas again! 4-6 feet, from Missouri. Last offered in spring 2010. Learn more.


A harmony of green and gold, jaunty little ‘Bangkok’ has pin-striped leaves, wine-red buds, and sunny yellow, white-striped flowers. Some experts claim it came from Thailand in 1923 as ‘Tinacria Variegata.’ A.k.a. ‘Striped Beauty’, ‘Nirvana’, ‘Minerva’, and ‘Christ’s Light’. 3-4 feet, from Oklahoma. Last offered in spring 2010. Learn more. Widely available elsewhere.


Deep, deep rose-pink, astonishingly deep and pure, in flowers so graceful we bet they’ll remind you of frangipani leis and tropical butterflies. Though we tend to call it simply ‘Centenaire’, its full name honors the centennial of a Parisian nursery famed for its pink cannas. Green leaves, 4 feet, from Missouri and France. Last offered in spring 2010. Learn more.


A tiny edging of gold highlights the deep rosy-peach petals of this 20th century American classic. Connoisseur Ian Cooke calls it “utterly reliable and very generous” with its blooms. Green leaves, 4-6 feet, from Oklahoma. Last offered web-only in spring 2007. Learn more. Widely available elsewhere.


Most petals of this “Harlequin Canna” are yellow dotted with red, but some are all red or divided right down the middle, half yellow, half red. Its green leaves often show a stripe or two of bronze, too. Every day it’s a new surprise! Documented in California nurseries by 1895. 3-5 feet, from Oklahoma. Last offered in spring 2010. Learn more. Available elsewhere.

Canna, EHEMANII CANNA, 1863Rarest & Web-Only

It’s back! raceful, spectacular, and decidedly different, this landmark canna is topped by arching sprays of dangling, bell-shaped, deep rose flowers that may remind you of fuchsias. Though widely praised by late Victorian gardeners, it doesn’t store or ship as easily as other cannas so it all but disappeared in the 20th century. But now it’s back, and it’s a thrill! 5-7’, green leaves, zones 8a or winter indoors, from Texas.

This is the ONLY canna we offer now, and it’s 100% virus-free. Learn more.

We hope to offer this variety again next spring. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.

EN AVANT, 1914

Like molten lava or the feathers of some exotic bird, the broad blossoms of ‘En Avant’ (“Forward!”) are brightly speckled with fiery orange-red dots. “One of the best,” says expert Ian Cooke. Plant it where you can enjoy it up close! Green leaves, 4-6 feet, from France and Missouri. Last offered in spring 2010. Learn more.


Our shortest canna, spritely ‘Firebird’ is perfect for containers and small gardens. Is that why our customers buy so much of it? Or do its slender scarlet flowers over dark green leaves remind them of tropical wildflowers? A.k.a. ‘Oiseau de Feu’, by Vilmorin-Andrieux, 2-3 feet, from Oklahoma. Last offered in spring 2010. Learn more. Widely available elsewhere.

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