I’m a Tropicannaaaaaa!!!!!!


So Genevieve Schmidt has managed this week to get hold of some Tropicannas from Tesselaar Plants. We decided to put some in the garden of my friend, painter Linda Mitchell.  Her house and painting studio are painted these fabulous, garden-friendly colors, and she's really into wildly-colored foliage (not much of which was in evidence on this early March day, but just wait.)

Here are the three varieties we're trying out:

Tropicanna (original, referred to as "the crazy fuchsia one" in our video)

Tropicanna Gold

Tropicanna Black.

But first, I had to learn how to act like a Tropicanna. We were trying to decide how a black Tropicanna would look tucked behind a salvia near Linda's front door.  We knew they could get to six feet tall, but what would that look like?

Here's Gen showing me how to be a Tropicanna, and me following her instructions, however goofy they may be:

Tropicanna collage

So there you go.  It'll look something like that, only without the reading glasses.

Oh, and here's a photo of Linda's studio.  As you can tell, she's into COLOR. So this was all about injecting some crazy tropical color whereever we could find a place for it.

Linda's paintings

Okay!  So here's our video.  And because planting rhizomes doesn't make for VERY dramatic video, we hammed it up a little bit and tried to act out the part of big, exuberant plants. To the best of our very limited acting abilities.  And we have vowed to return in summer, to show you whether or not we have achieved our artistic vision. With tropical cocktails, of course.


And–yes!  There are Tropicannas for you!  You know the drill. Post a comment, win a Tropicanna bonanza. Go over to Gen's blog and you can do the same there.



  1. Beautiful cannas. Thanks for letting us know about the Tropicanna variety.


  2. That’s funny! I was trying to place a lemon tree last weekend and had my husband do the same thing! “Be the tree…feel the tree!” He’s very tolerant that way.

    As far as the Tropicannas go, I adore them! My regular red cannas are blooming now!

  3. These are stunning. And yes, I too want to run around screaming “I’m a Tropicanna!” \o/ 😀 Thanks for giving me a new plant to research and become obsessed with.

  4. Your friend is just going to LOVE having those colorful canna’s in her yard, especially after seeing her paintings and color palette.
    If I could make a suggestion of pairing the Tropicana Gold with a brilliant red foliage plant such as Phormium The Guardsman or a Red Banana, I think your friend would like this combo. Throw in some big leaf coleus, some alocasias and a few succulents and ya all will have a
    knock out vignette.
    In regards to long term maintenance, I find that in my mild climate that I have to dig up the canna’s every few years and add copious amounts of compost. These plants seem to wither in size if they are not growing in a rich soil mix.
    Link to a canna photo : https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/bvH3ddAQMpGz3ANaPq3fUQ?feat=directlink

  5. I only have one Canna in my yard, so obviously I need to win this contest and have more (and hopefully even some to share). thanks for this and all your contests!

  6. Actually, I don’t know the drill, but I love big, garish plants, and I’d give those Tropicannas a good home! I’ll even strike the pose for the camera…

  7. Loving those cannas! Would love to try these! I have never tried them before! Great video! The two of you are great comedy!

  8. Ha ha! Funny video. About the pose, we did the same thing the other year, except that we had to to be 3 people who stood on top of each other while my mother decided where to place the tree. My back still hurts;)

  9. Used to have Tropicannas but not recently – I always loved the alliteration, and would repeat as often as I possibly could:
    Tropicanna Canna, Tropicanna Canna …Tropicanna Canna, while plunging my trowel three times into the soil…

  10. Some like it hot and I’ve not got any hot. I doubt even cannas would grow way up here where the hot considers 85 briefly before giving up on only a couple of days of the year.

    I used to grow them in a previous life. They were a nice alternative with less biomass than most heliconia.

  11. Amy and Gen,
    Thanks for the great video. Amy, I heard you speak on a book tour in Amador County a few years ago. I really enjoy your Rants and the videos. I feel like I know you even though we’ve never met. Gen, in my next life I’d like to be a landscaper too. Right now, I’m just looking forward to the day I can retire from teaching and garden more.

    I have one canna in my yard that was given to me by a close friend. It is a brilliant orange color, grows very fast and seems to come back every year in spite of the cold frost and snow in the foothills where I live. And a big plus…the deer don’t seem to like it!

    Looking forward to the next video. Thanks for making me smile.

  12. Tropicanns, Oh how I have tried to grow you… over and over for the last 3 years. I have finally given it up. The wind blows and your leaves are all ragged and your flowers become all tattered and torn.
    So I will have to live vicariously through the pictures you take of Linda’s Tropicanns
    Good Luck!

  13. I’m big on cannas in pots and in the ground, but frankly won’t need them for about two months or so here in the frozen north. That’s when I’ll head to the cellar and see how my buckets of rhizomes overwintered.

  14. I love Tropicanna Gold and have a couple in my “yellow garden”. Now I am lusting after the Tropicanna Black.

  15. I’m a painter, too, with profound zonal denial. I’m moving into a new house this spring–my own place, where I can grow things for years to come!–and I need some big lush Tropicannas for the crazy container color I’ll be counting on this year. Tropicaaannaaaaa!!

  16. Oh my gosh I have done the same poses in my garden. When we were replacing a tree I stood in the middle of the yard on my tip toes with my arms in the air telling my dh that THIS is where I wanted the new tree and THIS is what it would look like. He thought I was quite mad but went along with it until I asked him to stand there and do the same thing for me so I could see what it looked like. Seems he’s ok with having the neighbors think I’m crazy but he draws the line at looking crazy himself.

  17. My yard is not as colorful as Linda’s but I’m working on it. I know hummingbirds feed on Canna indica, and I wonder if these more colorful cannas produce nectar like the species. I’d like to try them anyway!

  18. Just love the black leaves on the “Tropicana Black”! I had the “Tropicana” & the “Tropicana Gold” in big pots but some lowlife decided that
    they wanted that awesome dramatic plant beauty
    where they live so… when I came home from work, they were gone!!! Anyways, “camera action”
    now in place! I’m ready to make their mouths
    water with the Tropicanna Trio in my “Hidden
    Hawaii in the S.G.Valley. They are so to die
    for! They are “eye candy” for the soul!

  19. On behalf of Tesselaar Plants (the developer of Tropicanna cannas), I just want to say AWESOME JOB! If anyone would like to see more gorgeous shots of Tropicanna cannas, they can either search for “Tropicanna” on Flickr or browse Tesselaar’s photostream there(just search for tesselaarusa under “People”). You can also search for Tropicanna at our blog, http://www.youreasygarden.com or @tesselaarplants on Twitter or Tesselaar International Plants on Facebook. Thanks again!

  20. Tropicannas are great foils for the garden, I love them in containers too.
    Haven’t tried the black leafed variety, but guess thats on the list for this year.
    I also like to use the foliage in cut flower arrangements. Really creates a stir when I give them to friends.

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