The Tropicanna series is spectacular.
The Tropicanna series is spectacular. Tesselaar

Fabulous foliage secret to year-round beauty

When we think about colour in the garden, we usually think about flowers. But flowers are seasonal, and so, though they are fabulous to grow and often very beautiful, we can't rely on flowers alone if we want colour and interest year-round.

This is where foliage comes into its own. And there are plants such as canna lilies that give us both - dramatic foliage as well as brilliant flowers.

Their lush, tropical foliage grows rapidly. The 1-2 metre stems are soft and have large leaves emerging from the sides. The brightly coloured flowers, usually red, orange, yellow or pink, are held at the top of the stems.

The foliage can be green, but there are also forms that have dark, almost black leaves, as well as others with variegated foliage. The Tropicanna series is spectacular. The original Tropicanna has striped foliage in shades of burgundy, red, pink, yellow, gold, and deep green. Each leaf is different. The flowers are a brilliant tangerine orange.

Tropicanna contrasts beautifully with the purple to black leaves and rich scarlet flowers of Tropicanna Black. Add Tropicanna Gold, with its yellow and green leaves, topped with soft yellow and orange flowers, and the effect is very striking indeed.

A word of caution: plants with bulbous root systems such as cannas can become invasive if they are not dealt with properly. Always dispose of unwanted plant material appropriately.