Water Canna (Canna glauca), sometimes known as Louisiana Canna, is native to only a few southern states: Brazoria and Matagorda counties in Texas, several Louisiana parishes, and single counties in Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama. Found primarily along the margins of marshes, swamps, and ponds, it’s an impressive plant that can attain a height of six feet.
The genus name is rooted in the Greek word kanna, meaning reed. The specific epithet also comes from the Greek; glaukos gave rise to glauca, which refers to the grayish-blue color of the leaves.
Cannas commonly are propagated by dividing their underground rhizomes. Some gardening sites note that the rhizomes can be overwintered in the ground if the temperatures remain above 40F (or 50F, depending on the website). They’ve been described as temperamental, easily lost if not kept in perfect conditions, but these plants seem to have weathered last February’s freeze perfectly well.
The plants can be grown from seed. Once the flowers are spent, clusters of green, spiky pods that remind me of dog chew toys develop. The pods usually contain one to three large, black seeds which can be harvested after the pods become dry.
The transformation of the plant from one stage to another is remarkable and interesting to witness. In mid-September, I found buds galore still emerging; with luck, more photos of the flowers themselves will be possible before their season is ended.