Why Won’t My Cannas Bloom – What To Do When Your Canna Will Not Flower

Red-Yellow Canna Lilies
Summertime in the garden Sydney, Australia
(Image credit: ClaraNila)

Canna lilies are plants with beautiful bright blooms and unique foliage that can add a tropical look to gardens in almost any region. In hardiness zones 9-12, canna lilies will grow as perennials. However, in cooler locations, canna lilies are grown like annuals, their bulbs dug up every autumn and stored indoors through cold winters. Whether grown permanently in the ground or dug up and replanted each season, age and other factors can reduce the vigor of canna blooms. If you are experiencing no flowers on a canna plant, this article is for you.

Why Won’t My Cannas Bloom?

Canna lilies produce beautiful tropical blooms in bright shades of red, orange, yellow and white. Different varieties of canna may also have very colorful or unique foliage. For example, Tropicanna has stripes of green, red, orange, pink, purple and yellow on their foliage. While many varieties of canna can be enjoyed strictly for their colorful foliage, we usually plant these hoping for an abundance of blooms in addition to the nifty tropical-like leaves. Ideally, canna lilies that are planted each spring as annuals should have adequate time to produce plenty of blooms in a growing season. When grown like this, as annuals, a canna lily not blooming could be a sign that the rhizome was planted too deep. Canna lily rhizomes should be planted no deeper than 2-3 inches (5-7 cm.) deep. Planting canna lily rhizomes too deep can cause the plants to be stunted or have delayed bloom time, or no blooms at all.

What to Do When Your Canna Will Not Flower

Other reasons for a canna lily not blooming are too much shade, drought, overcrowding and nutrient deficiencies. Canna will not flower if it is not getting adequate sunlight. Canna lilies need at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. Canna lilies also require consistently moist soil. The soil must be well draining to prevent rots, but it should still retain moisture. When stressed by drought or inadequate watering, canna lilies will reserve their moisture by sacrificing blooms. This is also the case if canna lilies are not getting enough nutrients. For best blooms, plant cannas in full sun, water regularly and fertilize plants 2-3 times throughout the growing season with a general 10-10-10 fertilizer. The most common reason for no flowers on a canna plant is overcrowding. When grown as perennials, canna lilies will grow and spread very quickly. In time, they can choke themselves out. Canna plants that have to compete for water, nutrients, or sunlight will not bloom. To keep canna plants happy, healthy and full of blooms, divide them every 2-3 years.

Darcy Larum