A Gardening Journal

The Best Season Ever: Ehemanii Canna

When you've drunk the Koolaid as deeply as I have—in this case, from the cup labeled "Cannas! Yum!"—each little difference, one cultivar to the next, can send you soaring. And with cannas, there are zillions of differences among the many hundreds of cultivars: overall size; leaf shape, size, color, and variegation; flowers, ditto; tubers, ditto; showy stems or seeds; and aquatic or terrestrial habitats. Perhaps most elusive is current societal verdict: is a given canna now perceived as tacky, elegant, classic (but still possibly tacky), shocking-but-fun, shockingly-new-but-fun, or downright kick-ass?

 

Canna x ehemannii defines its own category: classic, difficult to source, and—unique in all cannas—with pendulous flowers. Pendulous flowers are definitely the headline here because, whatever their size and coloring, flowers of all other cannas are held upward and outward. Blossoms of Ehemannii dangle seductively, and appear a bit reticent despite their pink-flamingo coloring.

 

Canna x ehemanii 081917 640

 

The blossoms hang in series from a gently arched stem—which is another singularity for Ehemanii: Flowers of the other cannas are arrayed up vertical stems that are as rigid as spikes.

 

Canna x ehemanii cropped closer 081917 640

 

There are sumptuous details in the coloring of Ehemannii's inflorescence apart from the saturated pink of the flower petals themselves. In the close-up below, you can see that the spike's stem is dusky plum, as is the calyx which each flower's petals emerge. And the "elbow"—the ovary—is a purple so deep that at first blush it seems to be black.

 

Canna x ehemanii calyces 081917 640

 

After many years of not finding Ehemanii (or not finding it before the sources were sold out for that season), I finally scored. This singular cultivar will now be in my collection forever. When you've drunk the Canna Koolaid as deeply as I have, this is big news.

 

 

Here's a look at Canna paniculata, as well as how to grow cannas in general.

 

Here's a look at the peerlessly elegant Panache cultivar. This canna can grow aquatically, in water that's no deeper than a few inches above the colony's surface, as well as in normal garden soil, i.e., terrestrially.

 

Here's the throbbingly intense Pacific Beauty cultivar; as is typical for dark-leaved forms, the non-floral part of its inflorescence are also colorful, not just its flowers' petals.

 

Canna rhizomes can be a show in themselves.

 

 
 
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