Canna indica (Indian Shot Plant)

Canna indica - Indian Shot Plant

Canna indica (Indian shot) is an ornamental plant, perennial rhizomatous herb growing up to 3.5 m tall with large leaves and showy flowers, although the flowers are smaller than those of the fancy hybrids. The canna indica rhizomes are large, up to 24 inches long, and edible. They can be eaten raw, but are usually baked. Leaves are dark green, often with bronze highlights. They are oblong-lance-shaped, up to 20 inches long and 8 inches wide. The asymmetric flowers, around 2-3 inches across, have three petals that are bright red with orange lips or spots. The papery capsules (1.5-3 cm long and 1.5-2 cm wide) are oval to almost rounded in shape and are crowned by the persistent sepals.

They are initially green or purplish in color and covered in numerous short projections, but turn brown as they mature and may lose some or all of their tiny projections. They split open at maturity to release numerous smooth, black, rounded or egg-shaped seeds. These seeds are relatively large (5-8 mm long and 4-7 mm wide) and very hard. The seeds are also used as beads in jewelry. It is very easy to grow at indoors is much easier than outdoors.

Scientific Classification:

Scientific Name:

Canna indica

Common Names:

Indian shot, African arrowroot, edible canna, purple arrowroot, Sierra Leone arrowroot.

Indian Shot Plant (Canna indica)

How to care and grow Canna Indica (Indian Shot) – Indoor plant?


It thrives best in full sun (6 hours of direct sunlight per day), but will tolerate partial shade (minimum 4 hours of sun daily).


Canna indica grows well in loose, nutrient-rich, evenly moist, well-drained soil or loam-less potting compost. They prefer a pH around 6.1 to 6.5. It will also tolerate wet, poorly drained soils.


Indian Shot Plant prefers temperature 70 to 75°F (21 to 24°C).


Water regularly during the growing season, applying a phosphorus-rich liquid fertilizer each month. But be careful not to over water in the winter and early spring, keep the soil almost completely dry.


Canna indica is heavy feeders, so mix some slow-release fertilizer into your potting soil before you plant them.Fertilize again mid-season. You can also mulch plants with compost or rotted manure to keep soil fertility high.


Canna indica can be propagated by dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets) or by seed. When dividing the rhizome, lift it and remove any excess soil.


Canna indica does not require pruning. But if your arrowroot plant is looking ragged, you can cut the plants to the ground even in midsummer, add fertilizer, water, and they will quickly recover.

Pests and Diseases:

No serious pest and disease problems. Watch for aster yellows. Japanese beetles, caterpillars, slugs, and snails may chew on the foliage. Rhizomes may rot in poorly drained wet soils.

Last updated on August 21st, 2021

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