Growing Queensland Arrowroot- Canna Edulis
Canna edulis is a perennial root crop also known as Achira or here in Australia as Queensland Arrowroot. I’m not sure where the Queensland bit came from because they originated from South America. They are quite stunning plants popular with ornamental growers, although the ornamental varieties produce smaller crops with flashier flowers. They can grow up to 2 meters plus in full sun or part shade in damp soils and it spreads underground via rhizomes to form large clumps even in poor soils.
It is commonly used in Permaculture designs as a windbreak, as chop and drop biomass, as fodder for pigs and possibly chickens and it can also be planted to form a suntrap. The rhizomes form large starchy tubers that are a great substitute for potatoes and the immature seeds and young shoots can be eaten as well.
Queensland Arrowroot is mainly propagated via root division. Simply dig up a handful of rhizomes from an established clump, split them apart into individual bulbs and replant them. It’s a good idea to cut away excess foliage when replanting so that the freshly planted arrowroot can focus on growing roots.
Being a tropical to sub-tropical plant the foliage is sensitive to frost. If you live in a climate with only light frosts then it should be possible to grow, but if your climate is cold enough to freeze the ground then you would need to dig up the rhizomes and bring them indoors for winter.
Don’t worry if your soil isn’t massively fertile, QLD Arrowroot can grow well in poor soils, just make sure it gets plenty of water.
They are quite stunning plants popular with ornamental growers, although the ornamental varieties produce smaller crops with flashier flowers.
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