11 Beautiful Red Canna Lily Varieties For Your Flower Garden

Looking to add some red canna lilies to your flower beds this season? Red canna lilies can make a beautiful and bold statement. But which variety should you choose? In this article, gardening expert Paige Foley walks through her favorite red canna lily varieties you can add to your flower garden this season!

red canna lily varieties

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Are you looking to add a pop of red to your garden that will last all summer long? If so, consider growing some canna lilies. With many varieties to choose from, canna lilies are a low-maintenance all-season bloomer. Adding their red blooms as a backdrop to a garden arrangement or as the focus of a small container garden can make a bold statement.

Canna lilies are native to tropical regions so they thrive in hot, sunny, and humid conditions. Growing in hardiness zones 3 to 11, Canna lilies can be left in the ground as a perennial in hardiness zones 8-11, or can be overwintered in zones 3-7 while stored in a dark, dry place. It’s quite the challenge to find such a beautiful blooming flower that can handle the extreme cold of northern climates!

Canna lilies come in an array of colors and sizes, but those that bloom in red are some of the most popular. With so many varieties to choose from, where do you start? Keep on reading for a list of our favorite red canna lily varieties to help narrow your search.

Dwarf Varieties

You can find canna lilies in three different sizes: standard, dwarf and giant. Dwarf varieties typically grow to be less than 4 feet. Some varieties are as short as 2 feet tall. This makes them a great choice in outdoor or indoor containers, garden beds, and along buildings.  

Choosing the right location for your canna lilies is important. Some varieties thrive better in certain locations. Planting them where they won’t thrive can cause problems down the road. Let’s take a look at some red dwarf varieties to consider in your container or garden.  

‘Black Knight’

Blood red Black Knight flowers atop tall stems with deep purple foliage that is almost black in color in a flower bed. They grow on a sunny day with the rest of the flower bed in the blurred background.
‘Black Knight’ produces gorgeous bright red flowers and dark purple foliage.
Scientific Name: Canna x generalis ‘Black Knight’
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Plant Size: 2’-3’
  • Sun exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zones: 3-10

Although this variety has black in its name, nothing on this plant is truly black. It’s named for its deep purple foliage that adds a unique backdrop to garden beds or water gardens.  

From this gothic foliage comes bright red blooms. Sometimes the edges of the petals are darker. The stems are strong and upright. This variety is known for attracting hummingbirds and would be a great addition to a pollinator garden.  

‘Crimson Beauty’

Close up of a dark pink Crimson Beauty flowers growing on tall stems with tall green foliage in a garden.
‘Crimson Beauty’ produces fuchsia-red flowers that bloom from mid-summer to late autumn.
Scientific Name: Canna x generalis ‘Crimson Beauty’
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Plant Size: 3’-4’
  • Sun exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zones: 3-10

Talk about curb appeal! This variety is the standard for canna lilies. They have a red bloom that can sometimes look fuschia-pink. These look excellent with shorter perennials or even in front of giant varieties. 

Plant after the risk of frost has passed and you will experience bloom from mid-summer until late fall. Planting this variety in cold soils will delay germination and push the blooms to produce later in the season.  

‘Firebird’

Close up of a vibrant red Firebird flower growing on a tall stem with green foliage in a garden.
This delightful variety has bright green foliage and red flowers that attract many pollinators to the garden.
Scientific Name: Canna x generalis ‘Firebird’
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Plant Size: 3’-4’
  • Sun exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zones: 3-10

‘Firebird’ is one of the only true red canna lilies. With bright green foliage and a petite flower, they are sure to bring a pop of fiery red to any garden. With their bright color, ‘Firebird’ is sure to attract all kinds of pollinators to your yard.  

This variety is low-maintenance and self-cleaning. This is perfect for people who love to just let their plants go. ‘Firebird’ works well in rural settings because it’s a natural deer repellent.  

‘Lucifer’

Close up of a vibrant red  Lucifer flower with golden yellow edges of the petals atop a tall stem with green foliage in a flower bed. They are shown on a sunny day, and a background that is slightly out of focus.
This unique variety produces red flowers with a golden edge.
Scientific Name: Canna x generalis ‘Lucifer’
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Plant Size: 2’-4’
  • Sun exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zones: 4-10

‘Lucifer’ has a unique red flower, unlike any other red canna lily. The blooms are a bright red with a beautiful gold edge. Flowers are the main attraction when it comes to this variety. they are perfect for those who love bicolor flowers! The green foliage tends to fade and gives way to its beautiful blooms.  

The tall, lush foliage and bright bloom add height and color to plain building walls. Their large leaves are prone to wind damage. Consider locations that will protect them from the wind.  

‘Red Futurity’

Short crimson Red Futurity flowers growing on stems with bronzy, long foliage in a flower bed on a sunny day with the rest of the flower bed.
‘Red Futurity’ blooms with crimson-red flowers that can withstand intense sunlight.
Scientific Name: Canna x generalis ‘Red Futurity’
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Plant Size: 3’-4’
  • Sun exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zones: 3-10

‘Red Futurity’ has beautiful bronzy foliage with crimson red blooms. This variety is self-cleaning, which means that the flowers will drop to the ground when they are spent. This is great if you don’t like spending hours deadheading your plants each season! 

These plants are one of the few that can take intense sunlight. They will work in bright, sunny locations where other plants simply cannot survive. Just be sure to water them enough to account for the high heat they will experience. 

‘Scarlet Wave’

Close up of a cherry-red Scarlet Wave flower growing on a tall stem with green foliage in a garden with a blurred background. It's on display in dappled light with mostly shadows on the plant.
‘Scarlet Wave’ blooms with beautiful large cherry-red flowers.
Scientific Name: Canna x generalis ‘Scarlet Wave’
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Plant Size: 2’-3’
  • Sun exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zones: 3-10

This variety may be small in stature but its blooms are far from small. ‘Scarlet Wave’ produces very large, solid cherry red flowers. This showy variety would look beautiful in a patio container with other colored flowers beneath it.  

Cut back the spent flowers to the second or third leave to create a shorter, fuller plant during the growing season. If you want to try growing canna lilies from seed, save the seed clusters you cut from pruning. Be warned, they have a very thick seed coat that can be difficult to germinate.

Standard Varieties

These varieties average around 4-6 feet in height. These are what many gardeners think about when wanting to plant traditional canna lily plants. Let’s take a look at some of the most common red blooming standard sized plants.

‘President’

Close up of a vibrant red 'President'  flower growing on a tall stem with green foliage in a bright and sunny garden.
‘The President’ has large scarlet to orange flowers that make great additions to flower gardens.
Scientific Name: Canna x generalis ‘President’
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Plant Size: 4’-5’
  • Sun exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zones: 3-10

As a true classic, this variety has large, gladiolus-like scarlet red to orange flowers. These flowers sit atop beautiful, lush green-blue foliage. This variety has graced the White House gardens for years. Hence why it’s called the ‘President’.  

This variety is considered a giant but would work well in a very large, heavy container. Be sure the container has drainage holes, is loaded with well-draining soil, and the plant receives at least 8 hours of sunlight to have maximum growth.  

‘Red Dazzler’

Tomato-red Red Dazzler flowers growing on a tall stems with long green foliage in a garden next to a wall with squiggly tile shapes etched into the wall.
‘Red Dazzler’ attracts butterflies and hummingbirds with its magnificent red flowers throughout the summer.
Scientific Name: Canna x generalis ‘Red Dazzler’
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Plant Size: 5’-7’
  • Sun exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zones: 3-10

This variety is sure to attract butterflies and hummingbirds with its dazzling solid red blooms that last all summer long. ‘Red Dazzler’ looks great as a backdrop for bronze-leaved canna lilies or other colorful flowers. Plant in direct sunlight for consistent and vibrant blooms.  

Their foliage is thick and they spread very easily. They would make an excellent fence to provide privacy or cover unsightly objects. Though they can reach heights of 7 feet, they can be planted in a container.

Giant Varieties

Giant varieties are exactly what the name says, giants. These varieties average about 5 to 6 feet. But, under the right conditions, they can reach heights of 8 feet or more. These varieties are show stoppers with their large stocks and massive blooms. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular giant varieties that bloom in red.  

‘Musifolia’

Large Musifolia foliage that is dark orange and long growing in evening sunlight with the sunshine coming through the leaves.
This variety is capable of reaching a height of more than 8 feet.
Scientific Name: Canna x generalis ‘Musifolia’
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Plant Size: 6’-8’
  • Sun exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zones: 3-10

If you’re looking to make a statement, look no further than ‘Musifolia’. One of the tallest varieties on the market, it can reach heights of more than 8 feet. These giant beauties have a small, slender red to orange flower that appears later in the season. The foliage looks similar to a banana plant and has been known to get as long as 3 feet!  

This variety produces very large rhizomes. So, when planting in the spring, leave plenty of space between rhizomes. Leaving enough space will help prevent overcrowding, which can stunt the growth of these ginormous plants.

‘Red King Humbert’

Bright red Red King Humbert flowers growing on tall stems with dark, bronzy, long foliage in a garden on a sunny day being sprayed with an irrigation system with water droplets everywhere.
‘Red King Humbert’ is one of the oldest varieties, producing tomato-red flowers from mid-summer to late fall.
Scientific Name: Canna x generalis ‘Red King Humbert’
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Plant Size: 4’-8’
  • Sun exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zones: 4-11

This has been one of the most popular heirloom varieties for more than a hundred years. ‘Red King Humbert’ produces a tomato red bloom that will last from mid-summer to late fall. Sometimes the blooms have a bit of an orange tint to them. The foliage starts as a dark green and transforms into beautifully glossy bronze leaves as they mature.  

Heirloom varieties are some of the oldest known cultivars of plants. These varieties are truly timeless and will be sure to impress for years to come. 

‘Robert Kemp’

Close up of a bright red Robert Kemp flower growing on a tall stem with green foliage in a garden with a blurred background in dazzling sunlight.
This is another variety that grows up to 8 feet tall and delights with its stunning red flowers.
Scientific Name: Canna x generalis ‘Robert Kemp’
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Plant Size: 6’-8’
  • Sun exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zones: 3-10

‘Robert Kemp’ is another heirloom canna lily on our list. It is known for its feather-like, pure red petals and lush, tropical green foliage. This variety can grow to extreme heights of about 6 to 8 feet.

Plant along a building to add some flare or as a privacy fence. These giants are sure to be stunning no matter where you decide to plant them.

Final Thoughts

Red flowering plants will bring a pop of color to any garden. Canna lilies come in a variety of red colors and even sizes. Because of their range of height, these red-blooming plants make the perfect pairing for any in-ground garden or container planting arrangement. They can serve as a backdrop to a larger garden arrangement as a tall plant, or as a smaller focal point of a container garden. Now it’s up to you to find the perfect pairing for your needs.

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