Canna flaccida are the cool flowers on the block. When most flowers go to sleep, they put on their best look, smell their most fragrant, and open up for the night. They are actually nocturnal and bloom when the dark side of nature’s hunger games begins. When the sun goes down, evening flowers, such as C. flaccida open to cater to their specific pollinators, moths.
Canna flaccida are the only cannas, to my knowledge, that give off any scent and one long-running strand of my breeding plans is devoted to trying to create a canna cultivar that has a pleasant fragrance. The scent from C. flaccida is not particularly outstanding, but at least it is a scent!
I am sad to recount that I have had no success to-date with sweet smelling cannas, but I am not the only one who has failed in this respect. You will recall that the Italian Group was created by Karl Sprenger by crossing his extensive Crozy Group stock with Canna flaccida, and none of the Italian Group has any scent that I can detect, although several of them are evening flowers.
Almost all moths are nocturnal, meaning that they are most active at night. Many species are drawn to electric lights. Scientists think that moths use the light of the moon to fly and so the light from electric lights confuses them. They seem to get lost and usually stay near the lights at night.
When moths aren’t causing havoc in your closet, they’re doing really cool things in nature. Similar to kids, as soon as dinner is on the table, moths appear as if from nowhere. As soon as their pollination flowers open, moths appear almost immediately. And unlike day pollinators, the process happens quickly, so it’s really interesting to watch.
It must be borne in mind that moths are not only important in the pollination of the flowers, but they are also important food for birds. In true circle of life fashion, moths give birth to moth caterpillars and moth caterpillars give life to baby and adult birds. One small nest of fledglings can consume up to hundreds of moth caterpillars. So planting Canna flaccida can provide sustenance to your local ecosystem, as well as giving an interesting topic when sitting outside in the evening with a glass of wine.