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Gazania Species
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Canna Picture
Canna plant is also called as canna lily, Indian shot etc. It is perennial type (i.e. it can last for more than three seasons) whose native is America and belongs to the family Cannaceace. It usually grows in humid tropical region. It gives impressive flowers and foliage with different colours. Its flowers are in different colours such as yellow, red, pink and orange colours and its foliage will be in bronze, green or burgundy colours. This plant can grow up in different heights and most of its species grow 3 to 5 feet tall and some species will grow very shortly just 1 Ĺ to 2 feet height, those growing shortly belong to dwarf varieties and some varieties grow 8 to 10 feet height and those growing to this height belong to giants varieties. It can spread up to 18 inches. Its leaves look like banana leaves. It flower bloom in all summer and autumn and it flowers continuously until it is cut down or lifted. It looks good when planted in groups. It requires very little maintenance. The canna plants growing place must be kept clean by removing dead flowers and leaves. It is a fast growing plant.
Canna plant is used for many purposes; it is used in agricultural activities due to its rich starch content, its seed can be used as mobile elements, beads in jewels and even dye can also be prepared from seed, canna is used for alcohol preparation, its smoke act as insecticide and still canna plants are used for many purposes.
Cultivation : It is very easy to grow and is grown from rhizomes, which are bulb like structure. It should be planted after winter frost. Moist rhizomes must be planted in a rich, moist, well-drained soil to the depth of about 4 to 5 inches and one foot apart while planting in groups. For best growth it requires full sun to partial shade location. Itís very essential to keep the soil moist in all the seasons; we can also use mulch (i.e. organic materials) to maintain moisture of soil and this mulch also provides nutrients to soil and hence enrich the soil. It can also grow well in poorly drained soil, clay and waterlogged location and also in moderate polluted wetlands. When growth of rhizomes starts earlier it will produce flower quickly.
Canna plant is also grown in pots or tubs in the beginning (i.e. indoor planting) and then it can be replanted in ground. Planting by this method generate flowers in a shorter time period than planting in ground directly. Clear dead flowers to keep it good looking and also to get additional blooming flowers. Growing plant by pots or containers in the beginning is applicable for all the varieties of canna.
Propagation : Canna can be propagated by dividing rhizomes in early October and those rhizomes divided must be stored in dry place which must be free from frost. It must be watered at low rate at the beginning and once the growth starts increase the watering in accordance to its growth. These rhizomes must be planted in ground only after the end of winter frost; it may be planted in the month of March.
It can also be propagated from the seed of canna, which is black in colour and will be hard and very strong. In order to propagate, seed must be soaked for about 24hours and then the soaked seed must be sowed in a pot or tub. In a few weeks the seed must germinate, if this happens we can grow the plant. It takes nearly 14 to 21 days for the seed to come up. If the seed fails to germinate in few weeks it should not be planted hence it wonít grow.
Varieties : There are many different varieties of canna, among its entire species there are three principal species from which all the other varieties are obtained. They are Canna indica, Canna flaccid and Canna lutea.
Hence there is very large number of hybrid varieties of canna some of them are; canna altensteinii, canna warscewiczii, black knight, Bangkok yellow, carousel, herbs white, lucifier, intrigue, zulu pink, zulu rose, orange punch etc.
Disease and Cure : Using insecticides are very essential to canna plants especially in winter to keep it free from insects; hence canna plants are mostly attacked by caterpillars in winter which affect the leaves and the flowers are destroyed by bettles. A small bite on leaves by slugs and snail will spoil whole appearance of a leaf, these slugs and snails prefer most on newly developing leaves.
Red spider mites attack canna plants and lead to dry leaves, to be free from the problems created by mites use combination of powerful soap-based insecticides and spray. It will reduce the problem to some extent.
They are mostly affected by virus diseases which spread very easily which sometime lead to the death of plant and in some cases distortion in the appearance of flower and damage in leaves. There is no full cure for virus infection hence it is better to protect the plant from virus diseases.

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