The Canna Variegated Group caters for cultivars with variegated foliage, regardless of what other Group they may belong to. The variegated group is not intended to include cultivars with colour zonation in their flowers,
There are many canna cultivars that have some green and purple variegation, and these are traditionally described as being ‘dark’, and this grouping is for those cultivars that have different colouring or are extreme examples of the green and purple canna trait.
Variegation is the appearance of differently coloured zones in the leaves, and variegated leaves occur rarely in nature, and is a trait normally induced by cultivar mutation.
Other than the green and purple striata, almost all of the variegated cannas are members of the Italian Group, which is derived from the crossing of Canna flaccida with the established Crozy Group. The Italian Group also supplies Canna ‘Cleopatra’, which is significant as the only chimera in the canna family. The exception to the Italian Group trait is Canna ‘Stuttgart’, which sometimes reverts to Canna ‘Annei’ from whence it originated.
Variegated plants have long been valued by gardeners, as the usually lighter-coloured variegation can ‘lift’ what would otherwise be blocks of solid green foliage. Many gardening societies have specialist variegated plants groups, such as the Hardy Plant Society’s Variegated Plant Special Interest Group in the UK. Several gardening books which deal exclusively with variegated plants are available.
Because the variegation is due to the presence of two kinds of plant tissue, propagating the canna plant must be by a vegetative method of propagation that preserves both types of tissue in relation to each other. The only vegetative method that succeeds with cannas is the division of rhizomes, as other methods such as stem cuttings and bud and stem grafting will fail totally.See also: Canna Cultivar Groups