Achira

Canna edulis

Edible Canna, Eetbare Kanna (Afr.), Indian Shot , Queensland Arrowroot

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Leafy perennial herb that grows up to 3m in height with large fleshy leaves arising from edible, underground rhizomes. Attractive bright red to orange flowers are followed by warty seed capsules bearing hard, round, black seeds. Some varieties sterile and without seed.
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Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Flowering time

Autumn

Harvesting

Both the flowers and the rhizomes can be harvested. The pretty red flowers can be cut for flower arrangements and the rhizomes are edible, both raw and cooked. Ground rhizomes can also be used in baking and are a good source of starch. Pick the leafy shoots while young during the growing season.

Propagation

Seed

Sow seeds 2-5 cm deep. Germination takes 3-9 weeks. The seed has a hard case that should be presoaked in warm water for 24hrs or scratched to encourage moisture penetration and germination. Some plants sterile and produce no seeds.

Division

Divide the root clump in the spring. Each portion must have at least one growing point. Pot up the divisions and grow them on in the greenhouse until they are strong enough to be outside.

Rhizomes

Underground rhizome quickly multiply and can be divided after flowering and replanted.

Special features

Hedge plant

Special features

Origin

South America to the West Indies.

Natural climate

Tropical and Sub-tropical climates

Environment

Light

Full Sun, Partial Sun

Soil moisture

Dry

Soil type

Loam

Soil PH preference

Neutral

Frost hardiness

Tender

Uses

Notes

Ornamental. Culinary.

Personality

Family

Cannaceae

Flower colour

Red or orange.

Scent

None

Problems

Achira is generally not bothered by pests or diseases.
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Knowledge and advice

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