Back in 2015, when I had quite a forest of Canna musifolia, I collected seeds from the many flowers that eventually turned into pods. I wasn’t sure if many of the seeds would hold true to their ‘banana’ form, so I collected as many as I could and labeled them as to which plants they came from. I have yet to germinate any of the seeds from the green-leaved/orange flowered form. Everything this year has been from seeds collected on the banana cannas with green leaves and red margins, red stems and red flowers.
Overall, germination has been very good with these 2 year old seeds. Out of the 30 or so seeds that I sowed, only a few failed. The only surprising thing about these cannas is the variation that has shown up. The parent plants were open pollinated, but probably only with my own stock. My old neighborhood was devoid of cannas, save my own.
The cannas have shown variability in color, leaf size, height, and growth rate. Pretty much everything! I would assume that the flowers will be just as variable, if and when they show up this year. I still have hundreds of banana canna seeds in storage, but with 25 different cannas from 25 seeds, I almost wonder if it would be neccessary to start more from seed. Then I remember… yes it would be worth it. Who knows what other combination of traits might show up in the next seed I germinate? Maybe the next one will be 20 feet tall, growing 4 foot leaves with white and red variegation! Probably not, but if I’ve got the seeds, I might as well find out.
Starting from seed can take a while, especially when the ultimate size of the plant is as large as what banana cannas are. I’ve got time though, and plenty of seeds. I’ll end up pulling out the smaller plants and keeping the best ones. Within a few years, I should have hundreds of banana cannas!