Indian Shot (Canna indica)

Arabic name:زنبق

Indian Shot (Canna indica) is a drought-tolerant evergreen perennial that yields striking flowers from late spring to autumn.  The flowers’ long and profuse blooming season lasts from May to October.  A native of Central and South America, Canna indica gives a tropical feel to the garden, and its ornamental foliage has a close resemblance to banana leaves.  This easily grown perennial is very popular due to its showy flowers and striking foliage.

Canna indica grows to a height of 1.5m, with a spread of 0.4m.  It is fast growing, taking six months to one year to reach its mature size.

Requirements: Grows in full sun.  Prefers fertile, well-drained soil, but does well even in poorer soils.

Water usage: Little watering (once a week).

Appearance:  Canna indica is a rhizomatous plant, meaning it sprouts out of a thickened modified stem that grows horizontally or along the soil surface.  Leaves are broad and lance-shaped up to 30cm wide, and flowers grow in spikes of orchid-like flowers with large petals.  The flowers are asymmetrical, with a disheveled look to them.

Notes on use: Effective in groups or in borders with other plants; has red, yellow, or orange flowers.  Grows well in containers.

Propagation: Propagate by seeds in winter, or clump division in spring.

Maintenance: Removing dead flower heads and seedpods after bloom gives a second flush of flowering in autumn.  Stalks should be cut to the ground once flowering is over to induce new growth.

Notes: Does not work well as a cut flower, but leaves may be used in flower arrangements.

Image source:

Image source:

Image source:

Image source:

This article is part of a series of articles prepared by the Center for the Study of the Built Environment (CSBE) on water conserving landscapes. 

For additional information on water conserving gardens, visit the CSBE web site at

Support for the CSBE project on water conserving landscapes is provided by WEPIA (Water Efficiency and Public Information for Action), a program being implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).