I HAVE NO INTEREST IN CANNA FLOWERS–in fact, I cut them off–but oh, those leaves. There is no better one to my eye than Canna ‘Musafolia,’ a.k.a. Canna ‘Grande,’ a banana-like canna (hence the name ‘Musafolia,’ since banana in botanical Latin is Musa). I’ve grown the banana canna, which came to me as ‘Grande,’ for many years, and never seen a flower, anyhow–until this oddball season of much heat and little rain.
I’d read in catalogs and books that ‘Musafolia’ would have relatively small blooms for its overall size; the plant gets to about 10 feet here when happy, and can grow even taller, apparently, in ideal conditions over a longer season. But then I saw my first bloom (and so did every hummingbird in town). For perspective, here’s how big this plant got by midsummer, by my patio (and the one defiant orangey-red bloom it put out):
This giant among cannas makes a great seasonal screen, and friends who had a lot of ‘Grande’ used it as a sort of summer hedge to wall off an area of their garden one year, which was great fun. Besides its 3-foot-by-1-foot leaves and statuesque appearance, it’s the details about this canna that I really love. Stems are tinted a wine color, and so are the leaf margins. Even the rhizomes are tinged with a reddish-pink, as below (which is how I can tell ‘Grande’ apart from others I store in the cellar if I forgot to label them).
Specialty cannas like ‘Musafolia’ may be pricey at first, but they’re prolific multipliers and easy to store for next spring–what I call a true investment plant. I’m glad I invested in this big boy, who just gets better and better every year.