Canna – A Recipe for your Jumbo Summer Pots

My Love Affair with Canna

I’m amazed at the grandeur of Cannas in our summer pots. As I look at photos that I have taken over the years, I smile at the results of successful plantings. I am proud to provide you with a Canna Recipe that you can put in your diary to plant this coming May.Client's spacious backyard crying for pots

Those of you following my photos have seen this home’s pots often. I created their overall pot design in the winter of 2006. They stayed with me until I sold the business, The Contained Gardener and are still with my former staff and the purchaser of the business today! 

The summer I planted their pots with these plants, my palette was primary colors. These pots are huge! About 32” in the top diameter. Both round out to a larger width which helps keep the root ball cooler.  

I believe there are several reasons why their pots always looked good. Beyond our TLC that is. ? They are big pots and can provide the support the plants and roots need. The pots are spread out, so they get a lot of air. With that, they are away from the house, so the wind and breezes circulate around them well. They are on an irrigation system that everyone watches over, making adjustments when needed.  

Two Recipes Today! 

In this photo, you are getting two recipes since these two pots work well together. You can reduce the size of these recipes by cutting the number of plants. I would not go below a 24” pot any time you are using Canna. 

>> Believe it or not, these pictures were taken in early September meaning that these plants were planted in late April and have grown all summer.  

Jumbo summer desert pots  

Pot with Orange Flowers


  1. (1) 1-3 gallon Orange Canna 
  2. (1) Orange Cape Honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis} 
  3. (1) 1-gallon White Guara 
  4. (6) 4” Orange Profusion Zinnias 
  5. (2) 4” Orange Calibrachoa (“Million Bells”) such as Superbells®  Dreamsicle® from Proven Winners 

Pot with Red Flowers


  1. (1) 1-3 gallon Silver King Euonymus  (for more about the Silver King, click here)
  2. (4) 4” or Gallon White Summer Snaps (Angelonia} 
  3. (8) 4” Red Vinca 
  4. (4) 4” White Vinca; Mediterranean trailing vinca if possible. Otherwise upright Pacifica is fine 
  5. (1 or 2) 4” Red Calibrachoa (“Million Bells”) (quantity depending on size) 

Planting Specifics 

  1. Since you are most likely planting in the heat, make sure every plant is thoroughly moist. If not, keeping the plant in its nursery container, submerge the can in a bucket of water up to above the soil line. You will see air bubbles popping up. When there are no more bubbles, remove the can from the water and let it drain. 
  2. Try to position the Canna, Silver King and Angelonia on the western and/or southern sides of the pot. This will then shade the other plants. 
  3. Position the Mediterranean Vinca and Million Bells on the east or north side of the pot so they are in the shade in the afternoon. 

Planting Basics 

  1. Cover the drainage hole with screening or a folded coffee filter.  
  2. Use a quality potting mix. If starting this pot from scratch, you will need eight to 12 cubic feet of soil. And yes, you need to fill this entire out with soil. The roots need all the space possible.  
  3. Apply granular time-released fertilizer as you add the final layer of soil.  
  4. Water thoroughly immediately after planting.  

Reasons these pots and plantings are so successful 

  1. An extra-large pot. These are a 32” interior diameter at the rim. That means the belly is even wider giving the roots plenty of room to grow.  
  2. Consistent, thorough watering is provided by the homeowner’s dedicated potline, which has proved to be extremely reliable.  

Added Benefits of this design 

If you have a large yard with plenty of sun, these pots are showstoppers all summer long. You don’t need trios of pots when these singularly are stand-outs. These plantings are easily four feet wide and the Canna are soaring above six feet! 

A combination planting featuring Canna

Marylee Pangman, Founder and Owner of the Potted Desert

Happy Potting!