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Canna Lilies Add a Touch of the Tropics to Your Garden

Making It Grow Minute

  Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow! If you want a tropical look to your garden, look no further than the humble canna lily. Canna lilies are among the toughest imaginable herbaceous plants you can grow in southern gardens. They multiply like made and make huge masses that require a pick ax to break apart. Cannas the only genus in the family Cannaceae and are native to what is called neotropic ecozone, which includes Florida, the Caribbean, Central America and much of South America. The earth’s land areas are divided into eight ecozones which are configured based on the distribution of plants and animals. Cannas were quickly identified as interesting and worthy plants by early explorers to the new world with records of their being traded for over 400 years. In parts of Asia and Africa, cannas have naturalized and become part of indigenous people’s lifestyles as a food source and for artistic purposes.

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.