Thursday, December 25, 2014

Canna indica

Common Names: Indian shot, Queensland arrowroot
Family: Cannaceae (canna Family)

Like the popular hybrid cannas referred to as Canna x generalis, Canna indica or Indian shot is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial with large leaves and showy flowers, although the flowers are smaller than those of the fancy hybrids. Leaves are dark green, often with bronze highlights. They are oblong-lance shaped, up to 20 in (50 cm) long and 8 in (20 cm) wide. The asymmetric flowers, around 2-3 in (5-8 cm) across, have three petals that are bright red with orange lips or spots. Plants can get 4-7 ft (120-210 cm) tall, but are usually smaller. ‘Purpurea’ has purplish leaves and smaller, bright red flowers.

Canna indica is native to tropical and subtropical Central and South America. It is grown in Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe and the West Indies and has become naturalized in many parts of the world with suitable climate. Indian shot can be found growing along road shoulders and ditches in the West Indies, southeastern U.S., Hawaii and southern Europe

Light: Grow Canna indica in full sun to partial shade. It will benefit from some midday shade in hot climates.
Moisture: Indian shot grows best in a moisture retentive soil. Water freely when in bloom.
Propagation: Propagate cannas by division of the rhizomes. Be sure each section has the "eye" (bud) from which the new growth will emerge. Indian shot can be grown from seed, of course, but the extremely hard seeds will have to be scarified first, then soaked in water for a day or two before sowing.

Cannas are grown in borders and beds, and are among the most popular flowers in tropical and subtropical gardens. Where not hardy, rhizomes can be planted out in spring for summer blooming, then dug in autumn for winter storage. Indian shot also can be grown in containers.

A starch is made from the rhizomes that is very similar to, and a good substitute for, arrowroot starch which is derived from an unrelated plant, Maranta arundinacea. The young rhizomes of Indian shot are sometimes eaten; they are sweet, but woody and fibrous. The seeds are perfectly round and very hard and reportedly were used as shot for flintlock muskets when lead shot was not available. Nowadays the seeds are commonly used as beads in natural seed jewelry for necklaces and especially rosaries.

There are several dozen species in the genus Canna, but most of what gardeners see are the results of hybridization between a handful of tropical species, and distributed under the name Canna x generalis or simply “hybrid cannas.” Canna indica was probably one of the original parent species.

How to stop weeds from growing in the joints of interlock?

This happens to be the most often asked question or concern regarding the maintenance of interlock. Contrary to what many believe, the weeds or grass growing up through the joints are actually sprouting from the sand joints and not the base of the brick. Therefore we do not recommend placing fabric or plastic sheets under the interlock brick. To control or eliminate the unwanted growth a simple maintenance routine is required. Pulling the weed out near the base before it strongly roots is the most recommended method of removal. Make sure you get all the root stock out or a new growth can sprout from the partial root. Maintaining clean, weed free garden beds, and keeping the sand level to the top of the brick is very important.

For more advanced or stubborn growth you may have to chemically control the weeds. During routine grass edge trimming you can trim the weeds down to the level of the interlock and then proceed with spraying a chemical herbicide such as Round-up. By trimming the weed first you have opened and injured the plant for better absorption of the chemical. For those not inclined to using chemicals a little more elbow grease will be needed to manually remove the weed as good as possible then use hot water from a safe kettle to kill the remainder of the plant.

Another method we use to control weed growth is with the use of polymeric joint sand.

Polymeric sand is just regular sand mixed with a polymer resin which when wetted will solidify to a mortar like consistency, therefore creating a solid joint between pavers.

To seal, or not to seal?
“Should I seal my interlock?” is a common question asked by clients. The wet look of sealed interlock is in most cases an aesthetics preference. The wet look may fit in better with some designs, however it’s up to the customer to decide whether it is the preferred look. Sealing interlock offers little to the already superior structural integrity of interlock, but may protect against the occasional spilt liquid.

How do I choose a sealer?
 Your choice of sealer depends on the look you wish to achieve. All sealers will inhibit stain penetrations, some will provide a low to high gloss finish while others will only enhance the color.

What can I do if my pavers are stained or damaged?
One of the advantages of pavers is that individual units can be removed and replaced in these situations. Remove the sand around the interlock and then use two flat head screwdrivers to lift the paver out. Some variety of interlock can be flipped over.

Can I remove moss or mold from my pavers?
Try a liquid bleach diluted in water, 10 parts water to one part bleach. Be careful not to get it on plant material. Keep in mind that there is nothing that will keep it from growing back if it's in a shady, damp area. For a permanent solution, you will need to correct the moisture and shade problems that are encouraging the moss or mold.

Will salt damage interlock?
Salt will not damage interlock.

What is the whitish deposit on the interlock brick?
What you see as a white flaky deposit is efflorescence, a natural phenomenon common in many concrete and brick products. Efflorescence is the result of naturally occurring mineral salts found in the materials used in the production of pavers or blocks. When pavers become wet and absorb moisture the mineral salts are dissolved and are drawn to the surface of the paver as it evaporates. This is not a product defect or harmful to the interlock pavers and will usually weather away with time. This process could take some time to clear, sometimes 7 months to a year or more. Cleaners can be used to speed up the clearing of efflorescence

Will salt damage concrete?
Unlike interlock, concrete is susceptible to deterioration from salt. Care must be practiced with the application of ice “melter” to concrete, especially concrete that has not been sealed. Excess salt or “melter” should be sweept off concrete once ice or snow is melted away. You should refrain from applying salt to any concrete products for the first year of installation.

Sealed concrete will resist the penetration of salt products much better than unsealed surfaces.

How to clean concrete?
A mild solution of soap and water will remove most common stains from all types of concrete. For more stubborn stains, a mild solution of bleach and water may have to be used.

Acid may need to be used for all other stains not removed by soap, bleach or high pressure washing. Due to the dangerous characters of these products, no tips will be included for the use of these chemicals. Call a professional for help with cleaning acid.