Why Canna Lilies Fall Over | 5 Causes and Solutions

Canna lilies are beautiful flowers that are native to South Africa but that do well in warm and temperate climates as well. Canna lilies are tough plants that are easy to keep alive, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t occasionally have problems with them.

Canna lilies grow nicely in partial shade or full sun, but you might notice that they start to droop every now and then. A drooping plant usually means that something is wrong, so let’s take a look at five reasons why your canna lilies might be falling over or drooping.

5 Causes of canna lilies falling over

Here are the top causes of canna lilies falling over and how to solve each one.

1. You Might Have Pests

There are several different pests that are known to attack canna lilies, and they include caterpillars, slugs, snails, and Japanese beetles. Pests can sometimes be difficult to find and can come out at night and return to the soil during the day.

If you notice your canna lilies drooping and you also see holes in some of the leaves, this could be due to pest attack.

These canna lily leaves have been eaten by caterpillars causing them to droop.

Pests can cause the plant to become stressed, and this alone can make it droopy. If you like, you can treat your canna lilies with Neem oil which will get rid of sap sucking insects such as aphids. Neem oil also protects the plant while leaving beneficial insects alone so they remain unharmed.

2. Too Much or Not Enough Water

Watering any plant properly can be a challenge, but with canna lilies, it’s possible to water them either too much or too little. It is a delicate balance, and when your canna lilies start to droop, it could mean that the soil is either too dry or too damp.

Check the condition of your soil regularly so that it never gets too dry or too wet. This might mean that you only have to water the plant every few days. If the top part of the soil is dry, it’s time to rewater. If it isn’t, just leave it alone.

Heavy canna lily stems in damp soil can fall over as they get larger.

Once you get a routine going, it’ll be easy to determine how much water your canna lilies need. The amount of water you use also depends on the type of soil you have and where you live. Generally, a canna lily will need one to two inches of water per week in order to stay healthy.

3. Too much or not enough fertilizer

Regular use of a good fertilizer is good for canna lilies, but there are two potential problems that can plague the owners of these flowers. The first is using too much fertilizer, which is more common than you think. The second is using a fertilizer that has too much nitrogen in it.

Nitrogen is a very important nutrient for all plants and flowers, but when you add too much of it to the soil, the leaves of the flowers can droop because they are so heavy. This happens because most nitrogen-rich fertilizer is made specifically to encourage the growth of leaves.

A good balance of nitrogen and phosphorus will give you 2 or 3 flower heads per stem.

Too much fertilizer, or fertilizer with too much nitrogen in it, will cause canna lily leaves to drag and go limp, but there’s an easy solution. Just cut back on the fertilizer you’re using or buy some with a lower nitrogen count, and things should go back to normal. You can even dilute the fertilizer before you use it and get good results.

4. You Have Problems with Your Soil and Drainage

Different locations have different soil types, and there’s not a lot you can do about that. Of course, regardless of the type of soil you have, good drainage is essential for canna lilies.

Soil that is compacted and too dense, can hold water for too long causing the rhizomes of the canna lily to rot or grow fungus.

Mixing through organic matter like compost aged cow manure or aged chicken manure is a great way to improve drainage.

Check your soil before you start watering and only water the plants when the soil feels dry. If you’re growing canna lilies indoors, make sure that you use a pot that has drainage holes, and if you need to change the soil, check to see if other problems are also present.

5. There Could Be Issues with Fungus

Fungal issues are always a potential problem and can cause your plants to droop. When it’s wet and cool outside, fungal spores can spread more easily and become a real problem because after the weather gets warm again, the spores will spread and bloom.

Canna lilies can even experience soft rot when they are exposed to any type of fungal spores. In fact, these spores can attack the stem and bulbs of your plant, eventually causing them to become very mushy.

Once the stems of your canna lilies become too mushy, they are often unsalvageable, which means that you are better off starting all over again with new plants.

Rust can be solved, and this often affects my plants. I let them die back at the end of the season and then they grow back healthy. We get wet summers which can encourage the rust at the end of the season.

Rust can affect canna lily leaves causing them to wilt the stem can eventaully fall over.

For more on how to grow canna lilies, check out this video.


Canna lilies can droop if they are getting too much water, not enough water, are suffering from fungal disease or pest attack. Check the leaves and soil for any signs of problems and treat them quickly. Canna lilies will die back in winter so let them reabsorb the nutrients from their stems, let them die back completely and then trim the stems.

Canna Lilies will grow again with fresh new stems in spring. Give them a top dressing of compost at the start of spring to give their roots extra nutrients and support to grow strong.