Exploring the Meaning: What Do Canna Lilies Symbolize?

Canna lilies are one of the most unique and captivating plants you’ll find growing across the United States. With such strikingly vivid blooms and tall, stalk-like leaves, it’s no surprise that canna lilies have become a favorite among garden enthusiasts. But what do these stunning flowers actually symbolize? Well, there’s more to them than meets the eye.

First off, canna lilies represent beauty and sophistication. They are often used as a centerpiece of sorts for ornamental gardens and botanical displays. They also signify passion and desire, with their fiery colors and bold design. However, they aren’t just admired for their aesthetics. Canna lilies also represent a powerful message of perseverance and resilience, as they can thrive in almost any environment and weather conditions, making them a perfect metaphor for life’s struggles.

With such a diverse range of meanings, it’s no wonder that canna lilies have captured the attention of many a curator, artist, and garden aficionado. Whether you have a green thumb or simply love to appreciate natural beauty, the canna lily offers an incredible mix of style and significance that is sure to make any garden, room, or space stand out. So why not add a touch of sophistication, passion, and endurance to your life with the captivating allure of the canna lily?

History of Canna Lilies as Symbols

Canna lilies have attracted people for centuries, not just because of their vibrant appearance but for their symbolic significance. These flowers are more than just a decoration, they are deeply rooted in mythology, religion and cultural practices. Here is a brief overview of the canna lilies’ history as symbols.

  • The ancient Greeks named the canna lilies after the word ‘kanna’, which translates to ‘reed’ or ‘cane’. They were seen as a symbol of rejuvenation and regeneration, particularly because the canna lilies grew in damp and marshy landscapes where the earth was constantly renewing itself.
  • In Hinduism, canna lilies are closely associated with the goddess Kali. The flowers, along with the color red, represent the goddess’ fierce power and strength. Canna lilies are often used in religious ceremonies and offerings to the goddess.
  • In the Victorian era, the language of flowers was at its peak, and canna lilies were a popular choice. The flowers were associated with refined elegance and represented the desire for admiration. They were also given as a gesture of exquisite taste and beauty.

Today, canna lilies are still appreciated for their symbolic significance. They are often used in contemporary artwork and have become a favored plant in garden design. The flowers’ unique appearance and historical symbolism make them an ideal choice for artists and gardeners who want to add a touch of charm and personality to their work.

Canna Lilies in Art History

The canna lily has been one of the most popular ornamental plants featured in the art world. Many artists have incorporated this flower in their paintings due to its unique features, bold colors, and cultural significance. Here are some notable examples:

  • Jacques Barraband – A French artist who created a series of watercolors of birds and flowers in the late 18th century, included the canna lily in many of his pieces. His attention to detail and use of vibrant colors captured the essence of the flower.
  • Van Gogh – A famous painter known for his expressive and vivid paintings, often featured canna lilies in his still-life pieces. He was particularly drawn to the flowers’ intricate structure, which he depicted with bold brushstrokes and contrasting colors.
  • Georgia O’Keeffe – A renowned American artist, created many paintings of the canna lily in the early 1920s. She focused on the sensuous curves of the petals, capturing the complexity of the flower’s form in her signature style.

The canna lily’s cultural significance is another reason it has been featured in art. The flower is believed to represent love, heightened emotions, and even femininity. This symbolism has inspired artists throughout history to incorporate the canna lily into their work.

Overall, the canna lily has played an important role in art history, inspiring artists with its structure, vibrant colors, and cultural significance.

For some examples of notable artwork featuring canna lilies, check out the following table:

Artist Title Year
Jacques Barraband Bird of Paradise and Canna lily 1791
Van Gogh Vase with Canna Lilies 1894
Georgia O’Keeffe Pink Canna 1926

These pieces showcase the canna lily’s timeless beauty and significance in the art world.

Spiritual Meanings of Canna Lilies across Religions

The Canna Lily has been recognized for its beauty, and its spiritual significance that has been explored in many different cultures throughout history. In this article, we will delve into the spiritual meanings of the Canna Lily in different religions.

The Number 3 in Christianity

  • In Christianity, the number three is significant as it represents the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • The Canna Lily is believed to represent the Holy Trinity since it is composed of three petals and three sepals. Moreover, the colors of the petals and sepals often resemble the liturgical colors of the church, such as red, white, and green.
  • According to Christian symbolism, the Canna Lily’s three-petal flowers point to the Holy Trinity’s unity represented through the three aspects of God’s character, showing us His wisdom, love, and holiness.

The Canna Lily in Hinduism

In Hinduism, the Canna Lily is regarded as a symbol of fertility and procreation. It is associated with the goddess Saraswati, who represents knowledge, creativity, and auspiciousness. The flower also represents longevity, good luck, and purity.

During the Durga Puja celebration in Bengal, India, the Canna Lily is used as a part of the floral decoration to honor the goddess Durga. The flower is considered an essential component of the puja as it symbolizes rebirth and new beginnings, denoting the cycle of life and death.

The Canna Lily in Chinese Culture

In Chinese culture, the Canna Lily is known as the “flower of riches and honor” and symbolizes confidence, charm, and warmth. The flower is often given as a gift for weddings, anniversaries, and other auspicious events.

Color Symbolism
Red Auspiciousness, good luck, happiness.
Yellow Wealth, success, and prosperity.
Orange Good luck and happiness.
Purple Nobility, elegance, and respect.

Besides, the root of the Canna Lily is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat various ailments, like sore throat, bronchitis, and high blood pressure.


As we’ve seen here, the Canna Lily is a flower that holds immense significance and symbolism. It’s not just a beautiful flower but has deep-rooted spiritual meaning embedded across different religions and cultures.

Whether it’s used in religious ceremonies, as a symbol of a divine presence, or as a part of medicinal practices, the Canna Lily is a flower that holds a special place in our world’s religious and cultural heritage.

Canna Lilies in Literature

Along with their beauty, canna lilies have been symbolically significant throughout literature. These flowers have been used to represent a range of symbols throughout literature, including:

  • Beauty and elegance
  • Pride and confidence
  • Resilience and bravery
  • Healing and rejuvenation

The canna lily’s vibrant colors and towering height have often made them a favorite among poets and writers. From William Wordsworth to Emily Dickinson, writers have captured the essence of these flowers in their works.

One notable example is Charlotte Bronte’s “Villette,” in which the narrator Lucy Snowe uses the canna lily to symbolize her own personal growth and transformation throughout the novel.

Another example is in the poem “Canna” by Mary Ashley Townsend, which highlights the beauty and elegance of the canna lily:

“Sown in the tropics, kissed by a sun,
Full to perfection ere day is done,
Fashioned of rosy mist, golden flame,
Canna, your beauty is not your fame.”

Book/Author Context/Focus
Charlotte Bronte’s “Villette” Uses canna lily to symbolize personal growth
Mary Ashley Townsend’s poem “Canna” Highlights beauty and elegance of canna lily
William Wordsworth’s “The Prelude” Describes canna lilies as a symbol of endurance and courage

William Wordsworth also uses canna lilies to describe the character of a woman in his poem “The Prelude,” stating that “Her stature tall–I hate a dumpy woman–/Among the Canna lilies tall and proud /As one of those she stood.” Here, the canna lilies are used to represent the woman’s endurance and courage.

Overall, canna lilies have been used throughout literature to represent a range of symbols and meanings. Their beauty and elegance make them a popular choice for poets and writers looking to add depth and meaning to their works.

Cultural Significance of Canna Lilies in Different Countries

Canna lilies have been cultivated and admired for centuries around the world for their stunning beauty and symbolic significance. Each country that grows canna lilies holds a unique cultural significance and meaning.

  • China: In China, canna lilies are known as “talkings parrots” or “dragon’s eye” because they have a thin line that runs from the flower’s bottom to the stamen, which looks like a bird’s beak or a dragon’s eye. The canna lilies in China are associated with longevity and sincerity.
  • India: In India, canna lilies are associated with the god of wisdom, Ganesha. It is believed that offering canna lilies to Ganesha brings good luck and success.
  • South Africa: In South Africa, canna lilies represent the bloodshed during the country’s struggle for independence. The flowers’ bright red color is considered to symbolize the spilled blood of those who fought for freedom.

In addition to these cultures, canna lilies also carry symbolic significance in other countries. For example:

France: The French have been cultivating canna lilies since the early 1800s. In France, canna lilies symbolize love, passion, and deep romantic connection between couples.

United States: In the United States, canna lilies are often used as a symbol of gratitude and appreciation. They are often given as a gift to show appreciation for someone’s kindness, help, or generosity.

Country Symbolic Significance of Canna Lilies
China Longevity and sincerity
India Good luck and success
South Africa Fighting for freedom and independence
France Love, passion, and romance
United States Gratitude and appreciation

Overall, canna lilies have a rich cultural significance and symbolic meaning in different countries around the world. Whether it be longevity, gratitude, or passion, these flowers carry profound symbolism that has stood the test of time.

Color Symbolism of Canna Lilies

As with many plants, canna lilies have symbolic meanings associated with the colors of their blooms. Here, we’ll explore the color symbolism of canna lilies, allowing you to choose the perfect hue to convey your intended message in a floral arrangement.

Number 6: Purple Canna Lilies

Purple is the color of royalty and luxury, and the purple canna lily is no exception. This regal flower also represents admiration and success, making it a great choice for congratulatory bouquets or to express deep admiration for someone.

In Eastern cultures, purple is closely associated with spiritual fulfillment. If you’re looking to send supportive energy to someone who is on a spiritual journey, the purple canna lily is the perfect choice.

Aside from their color, canna lilies in general have a symbolic meaning of confidence and boldness. These qualities, paired with the regal purple hue, make the purple canna lily the perfect way to add a touch of elegance and self-assuredness to any floral arrangement.

Canna Lilies and Love/Romance

Canna Lilies have long been used as a symbol of love and romance. Below are some of the ways that canna lilies represent the matters of the heart:

  • Passion: The vibrant red, pink, and orange colors of canna lilies symbolize passion and desire. These colors are often associated with love, which makes the flowers perfect for romantic occasions.
  • Commitment: Canna lilies are known for their long lifespan, with some varieties able to bloom for decades. This makes them a great metaphor for long-lasting commitment in relationships.
  • Perseverance: Canna lilies are known for their resilience and ability to thrive in difficult conditions. This quality can be applied to romantic relationships, where couples must navigate through challenges to make their love last.

In addition to their symbolic meanings, canna lilies have practical uses for enhancing romance. They can be used to create a romantic atmosphere, whether used as centerpieces at a wedding or arranged in a vase for a romantic date night.

Here’s a table breaking down the different colors of canna lilies and what they represent:

Color Meaning
Red Passion and love
Pink Romance and happiness
Orange Energy and enthusiasm
Yellow Cheerfulness and friendship
White Purity and innocence

Overall, canna lilies are a beautiful and meaningful choice for those looking to add a touch of romance to their lives and relationships.

Canna Lilies in Victorian Language of Flowers

The Victorian era was known for its strict rules and codes of conduct, yet flowers became a subtle language through which people could express their sentiments and emotions. Each flower carried a specific message, and the canna lily was no exception.

  • The canna lily was a symbol of beauty and magnificence, so it was often given to someone as a compliment or admiration for their graceful and stunning appearance.
  • People also associated the canna lily with the tropical regions of the world and the adventurous spirit of exploration, making it a popular gift for those setting out on a journey or starting a new chapter in their life.
  • Furthermore, the canna lily was believed to represent longevity and long life, making it a common flower in arrangements for milestone celebrations such as birthdays and anniversaries.

The language of flowers allowed people to communicate their feelings without explicitly saying them out loud. The canna lily was often paired with other flowers to create elaborate bouquets, each with their own unique meaning and message.

The canna lily’s message was also influenced by the number and color of flowers present in a bouquet. In Victorian times, the arrangement of the flowers often carried as much meaning as the flowers themselves.

According to the language of flowers, the number eight represented a moral message, specifically, to act with integrity and honesty in all aspects of life. When eight canna lilies were present in a bouquet, the message was a reminder to be virtuous and true to oneself.

Number of Canna Lilies Meaning
1 Simplicity
2 Unified love
3 Friendship
4 Passion and desire
5 Adoration
6 Charm and grace
7 Good luck and prosperity
8 Moral message to act with integrity and honesty

Today, the canna lily remains a popular flower, appreciated for its striking beauty and elegant appearance. Whether given as a gift or used to decorate a space, the canna lily’s rich history and symbolism make it a meaningful flower to include in any bouquet or arrangement.

Medicinal and Healing Properties of Canna Lilies

For centuries, various parts of the canna lily plant have been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments. In this article, we will explore the different uses and benefits of canna lilies in medicinal and healing practices.

One interesting fact about canna lilies is that many of their medicinal properties are associated with the number ‘9’. Let’s take a closer look into what this means:

  • The canna lily roots typically have nine ‘eyes’ or buds, which are believed to represent good fortune and prosperity in many cultures. In traditional Chinese medicine, the roots are used to treat digestive disorders, such as diarrhea and nausea, and to help improve appetite and overall digestion. They are also believed to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
  • The leaves of the canna lily plant are known for their antibacterial and antifungal properties. They can be used to make poultices for treating skin infections, such as wounds and cuts, and are effective in reducing inflammation and promoting faster healing.
  • The flowers of the canna lily plant are often used in aromatherapy and have a soothing effect on the mind and body. They are believed to help relieve stress, anxiety, and depression, and promote better sleep.

Aside from its various medicinal uses, canna lilies are also great for the environment. They are known to absorb toxins from the soil, which makes them perfect for cleaning up contaminated areas. They are also great for attracting bees and butterflies, which helps with pollination and the overall health of the ecosystem.

Overall, canna lilies are a versatile and valuable plant that have been used in various ways throughout history. From traditional medicine to environmental cleanup, they have many benefits that make them a great addition to any garden or natural remedy toolkit.

So, next time you see a canna lily, remember the symbolism behind its nine eyes and all the healing properties it possesses.

Gardening and Landscaping with Canna Lilies

Canna lilies are beautiful and vibrant flowering plants that come in a range of colors and sizes. They are versatile plants that can be used in many ways to enhance the look and feel of your garden or landscape. Here are some tips for gardening and landscaping with canna lilies:

10. Creating a Canopy with Canna Lilies

If you’re looking to create some shade in your garden or outdoor space, canna lilies can help you do that. The tall, thick stems of the plant make for a great canopy that can provide shade while also adding visual interest to your outdoor space. To create a canopy with canna lilies, you’ll need to plant them close together and keep them well-watered. As the plants grow, their leaves will spread out and create a beautiful, natural canopy. You can also use a trellis or structure to support the plants as they grow, creating a more defined and structured canopy.

Here are some additional tips for creating a canopy with canna lilies:

  • Choose a location with plenty of sunlight, but also some shade, as canna lilies can be sensitive to too much heat.
  • Plant canna lilies in a row to create a natural canopy that can be enjoyed from below.
  • Use a support structure if you want a more defined and structured canopy.
  • Cut back the stems and leaves at the end of the growing season to help the plants rejuvenate and prepare for the next season.

If you’re looking for an easy and effective way to create some shade in your garden or outdoor space, canna lilies are a great choice. With their beautiful foliage and vibrant flowers, they’ll also enhance the overall look and feel of your space.

What Do Canna Lilies Symbolize?

Q: What are canna lilies?
A: Canna lilies are tropical flowering plants that belong to the Cannaceae family. They grow tall and produce bright, colorful blooms.

Q: What colors do canna lilies come in?
A: Canna lilies come in a variety of colors. Some of the most popular include red, yellow, pink, orange, and shades of purple.

Q: What do canna lilies symbolize?
A: Canna lilies are often associated with qualities such as beauty, passion, and creativity. They are also seen as a symbol of confidence and standing up for oneself.

Q: What is the history of canna lilies as a symbol?
A: The symbolism of canna lilies dates back to ancient times, where they were used to represent various goddesses and deities. In more recent history, canna lilies have been used as a symbol of remembrance for soldiers who have passed away.

Q: What occasions are canna lilies commonly given for?
A: Canna lilies are a popular gift for weddings, as they symbolize the beauty and passion of the couple’s love. They are also given on occasions such as Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day as a token of affection.

Q: How are canna lilies used in art and literature?
A: Canna lilies have been used as a motif in art and literature throughout history. They are often depicted in paintings and sculptures, and are referenced in various poems and novels.

Q: How can I incorporate canna lilies into my garden or home decor?
A: Canna lilies can be grown in garden beds or containers, and make a beautiful addition to any yard. They can also be used in floral arrangements or as a decorative accent in home decor.

Closing Thoughts

Now that you know what canna lilies symbolize, you can appreciate their beauty and meaning even more. Whether you choose to incorporate them into your garden or give them as a gift to someone special, remember the qualities they represent: passion, creativity, and confidence. Thank you for reading and be sure to visit again for more articles like this.