Q.canna lily pests
Found a caterpillar-like grayish-white worm, about 1″ long, tucked in the leaf near the stem – along with lots of little black balls (looked like coffee grinds). Removed the caterpillar, but concerned about the black things – are they eggs? How do I get rid of them? Just recently planted this canna in a pot on my screened lanai, here in FL. Any advice or info you can provide would be appreciated. Thanks!
Without a photo, the caterpillar is hard to identify but there are about five different types of caterpillars found on canna. Based on your description, I think you have the saltmarsh caterpillar - it is hairy and gray when young.
Regardless of what caterpillar it was, the black balls that look like coffee grinds will be caterpillar excrement and not eggs. I think that so long as you removed the caterpillar you should be fine however I would continue to be vigilant and examine your canna lily for more caterpillars.
You can read more about how to manage the insect pests of canna lily here: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/bulbs/canna/managing-canna-lily-pests.htm