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Canna - Do you grow it?

 
Jack Shawburn
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I read that Cannas are edible.
Some sites say most of them are edible , even the flowering types
Other sites say the flowering types are not edible.

A couple people have mentioned that they grow them.
Have you eaten the tubers and leaves?

From my searches it seems some countries (like Vietnam)
grow them as regular crops for the leaves and tubers.

They are very vigorous plants and are hard to eradicate
but it would be a great Plus if they are good eating...
 
Paula Edwards
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there is a form canna edulis and if you have tried it then you might understand why only this one is called edible. Maybe it is simply the others taste yucky as the so called edulis doesn't taste great. Maybe I haven't cooked it right. they grow very easy and are easy to eradicate. And they look great why you should bother eating the ornamentals?
 
Jonathan Byron
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I have Canna edulis, C. indica, and two unknown cultivars in patches here and there. Haven't harvested any yet, I want to get them to expand a bit first. I look at it as an emergency crop - ornamental for now, but there to dig up if really needed.

If one is going to process the tubers into starch (like they do in Vietnam for noodles), then any Canna can be considered edible. Some may have larger tubers or higher yield.  Some types may taste more pleasant, which can be a real factor if one is going to eat the shoots or tubers whole.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Yes, I grow it, no, I haven't tried eating it. 

 
                                  
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I grew Canna edulis from seed this year.  Didn't germinate until it finally got hot, then has grown quickly.  I may try it once it has grown enough, doubt that will take too long at the rate they are growing.  I have many plants that are generally considered ornamentals, but are technically edible.  Most I didn't know where edible until looking at the PFAF website.  We just have to remember that edible and palatable can be two entirely different things.  Still, it is nice to know there is food there if it should ever be needed.
 
Brenda Groth
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planted cannas and callas from walmart this year and they didn't grow
 
Irene Kightley
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I grow Canna indica from rhizomes that a friend gave me. They have grown well here in our climate (Zone 7) and are really beautiful plants.



I tend to agree with Jonathan_Byron, ediblecities and plantsnobin as far as the edibility is concerned. Good to know it's there but I'll finish the garden and forest food first ! 

As I see it, permaculture isn't just thinking of food for humans but looking at all uses that can be found from a plant including the physical aspect of the plant as shade, protection of other plants, screening etc.

Our pigs love the leaves and roots and the goats will eat the leaves. As we're having more and more problems with drought here in South West France, I'm always on the look-out for edible plants that I can grow for our animals who then convert their food into meat, skins, milk, cheese and compost.

As well as feed, the seeds have a number of uses - limited only by your imagination. They can be used for making jewellery, fly screens, furniture (think bean-bags) and ammunition. I read that the seeds from this Canna (which is also called Indian shot) are hard enough to pierce wood so we did our own experimenting and I can confirm that with a powerful sling the seeds could be used to hunt small game.

We got 1.4 kilos of heavy, hard, perfectly round seeds from seven plants :



This year I'm growing a few more plants and I'll be interested to see what the keeping qualities of the seeds are and how the plants will do in a really dry season with no irrigation. 

 
Tyler Ludens
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The blooms attract hummingbirds, so that makes me happy. 
 
Cris Bessette
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Yes I do grow them, but I admit I haven't tried eating them. 
As for their being "hard to eradicate", I've never heard of anyone trying to do so, usually its the other way around "How do I propagate/ make more?"

 
Jack Shawburn
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Canna being edible makes it onto my list to incorporate into the FF Garden.
They grow 4feet high and dense so they could offer protection to other plants.
I suspect they will like a lot of water.
I could even try cutting them for mulch? seeing as they are quite vigorous growers...
I like the "Edibility versus Palatability"... but good to know they can be eaten.
Will just have to do a taste test to identify the "better" tasting ones.
 
Paula Edwards
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maybe the ornamental varieties have less starch. Here they are called Queensland Arrowroot and there has been an industry in the past to get the starch. They are traditional crops of South America, however  I didn't find suitable recipes. Garden writer Jackie French recommends harvesting them young.
 
Dave Bennett
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Jen0454 wrote:
Canna being edible makes it onto my list to incorporate into the FF Garden.
They grow 4feet high and dense so they could offer protection to other plants.
I suspect they will like a lot of water.
I could even try cutting them for mulch? seeing as they are quite vigorous growers...
I like the "Edibility versus Palatability"... but good to know they can be eaten.
Will just have to do a taste test to identify the "better" tasting ones.

Boiled and massed with some Garlic and Butter Salt & Pepper they are very much like regular potatoes but have a subtle sweetness too.
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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I had no idea!!!  Canna grow like weeds here; even when I try to get rid of them a few keep popping up.

I am glad they were persistent as they appear to have quite a few uses. 
 
André Troylilas
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I grow Canna indica and Canna edulis. Only Canna indica made flowers this year, and I didn't get any seed. All my Canna indica are the same cultivar (the patch is growing each year).
Could that be an issue in order to get some seeds? Are Canna indica autosterile?
Thanks.
 
Danielle Linder
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Location: Perth, Australia
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Not all Canna indica & hybrids are autosterile (some probably are, but I've had a few varieties that definitely weren't), but they may only produce seeds after a certain age. Younger plants don't seem to produce seeds, and none of them do unless there's lots of hot weather and lots of water available.

Haven't tried eating them but my research indicates that all Cannas are edible, since you process the tuber for starch rather than eating it whole (very fibrous if eaten whole, still edible but not really great to eat). Tubers and leaves are good for pigs, cattle, sheep, goats, and chickens if your chickens will eat them. Rabbits I'm not sure, but they can probably have the greens.
 
André Troylilas
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Thanks, Danielle.
 
André Troylilas
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Canna indica want me to eat them. The tubers get out of the ground by themselves.
Still have to find a recipe, because I'm not sure it's easily edible.
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André Troylilas
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Cooked it 6 hours at 60°C (140°F), and finished it at 200°C (392+F).
I ate one tonight. Not bad, but would not make it my main staple, for sure... The "bud" was less fibrous than the main root, but all was usable, and I made myself some mashed Canna.
We'll see tomorrow how I'm doing... if I'm not dead.
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