Despite its botanical name, Canna indica comes not from India but from tropical America and the Caribbean. It was introduced elsewhere quite early, however, and the numerous hybrids have long been a favorite with gardeners throughout the tropics, especially planted in large beds. The more known flower has colors red and yellow, but they are also found in orange, pink, cream, and mixtures and with many leaf variations. The fleshy stalks grow to around 7 ft and it blooms better in full sunlight; each stalk must be cut back to the ground after blooming. The underground rootstocks spread rapidly and in time may become overcrowded. Some gardeners recommend digging up the entire bed annually, dividing the roots, and replanting in freshly manured soil. Remove spent flowers, and cut the stalk to ground after all the flower clusters have bloomed to push the plant to produce more stalk.
Most Indian Shot used in seed jewelry probably comes from the seeds of Canna indica, a common Caribbean wayside wildflower that is naturalized throughout the Old and New World tropics. This species is also used for necklaces and rosaries in India. The seeds of a similar tropical American species (C. coccinea) are also used as beads. There are at least 50 species of Canna in the world and undoubtedly some of these are used for beads; however, Canna indica has some of the most uniformly-round, BB-like seeds. In many hybrid cannas in cultivation, the seeds are more oblong-shaped.