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Canna Pretoria - Bengal Tiger
Key Information

Rarely seen Hybrid, only available by vegative division.

Bengal Tiger has green and yellow striped leaves with a purpleish margin. A good clumping plant to about 5/6 feet with large orange flowers in August/September. Brings a touch of the tropics to tubs, beds, and borders.

Believe it, or not, I aquired (bought) my original plant from Hever Castle, in Kent,  on a summer holiday, day out with the kids. When it's hot, the water maze is a big hit with kids, and adults alike. They also have regular Jousting Tounaments during the summer months.

The Bengal Tigers have proved hardy in pots in Chalk, Kent over the last 6 years. They die down in November killed off by the frost, resprouting in March to May depending on temperature.

Requirements - They need full sun to bring out the stripes, tending to be more green in the shade, do best in moist to wet soil, and can even be grown as an aquatic in a pond. I am experimenting this year with a plant in the middle of the pond, rather than as a marginal. There is also some evidence that, like Colocasias, they reduce the nitrate levels in unfiltered fish ponds, keeping the water sweeter. You couldn't wish for a better looking filter.

Overwintering -I just leave in pots in a corner of the patio, as the rhizomes do not grow on the surface. The temperature on the patio falls no lower than about -6C, and receives winter sun. I do not cut the stems off as they add protection. They are tidied up in the spring when the frosts are less severe.

Planted out. In milder areas where the temperature is not likely to drop below -6C for days on end, you can leave in the ground with a heavy mulch. Lifting and dividing in the spring if necessary.

If you are in a colder area, you will need to ensure the rhizome does not freeze through. I have heard of various methods of stopping this, including upturned buckets, or pots filled with straw or newspaper. Newspapers covered with roofing felt etc. If leaving in the ground, better to leave the top of the plant on. If digging out then after the first frosts have burned the leaves, cut down the stems to about 10cm above the ground and allow these to dry. Then dig out the rhizomes, knock the soil off, but leave the roots on. Check and remove damaged areas and allow to dry for a few days before storage, in a dry frost free place.

For plants I store by lifting, I wrap each rhizome in newspaper, individually, then hang in string vegetable bags in the garage.

In spring, if in pots or left in the ground, tidy up, removing the old stems and leaves. If lifted,and stored, tidy up rhizomes, remove old roots, check for, and remove, any rotted or damaged sections, divide as necessary, ensuring there is a bud on the sections of rhizome. Then pot up in moist compost in the greenhouse or sunny windosill. Keep moist but do not overwater until the shoots emerge.

And there you have it 'Bengal Tiger'

If not planting in a bog garden, or pond, for those of you, like me, living in a drought stricken area of the UK. I recommend the use of Gardman Hanging Basket Water Gel Granuals. They hold 400 times their own volume of water. Dig these into the planting site to ensure that precious water stays where the plant needs it, and always mulch to avoid evaporation. I use an inch of pea gravel as it keeps the soil moist but stops potential rotting in cold, damp weather.