Lantana

Heat Loving & Hearty

Fun

Summer

Colors

Lantana is a genus of about 150 species of perennial flowering plants in the verbena family. They are native to tropical regions of the Americas and Africa but exist as an introduced species in numerous areas, especially in the Australian-Pacific region. The genus includes both herbaceous plants and shrubs growing to 1.6–6.6 ft tall.

 

Lantana’s aromatic flower clusters (called umbels) are a mix of red, orange, yellow, or blue and white florets. Other colors exist as new varieties are being selected. The flowers typically change color as they mature, resulting in inflorescences that are two- or three-colored.  The spread of lantana is aided by the characteristic of their leaves, which are somewhat poisonous to most animals, while their fruit is a delicacy for many birds which distribute the seeds.  Lantana species are widely cultivated for their flowers in tropical and subtropical environments and as an annual plant in temperate climates.

Although lantanas are generally hardy and, being somewhat toxic, are usually rejected by herbivores, they may still become infested with pests. However, pest control insecticidal soaps are harmful to these plants.  I recommend eight or other non-soap, non-oil insecticide.

Lantana berries are edible when ripe, though like many fruit are mildly poisonous if eaten while still green.

Lantana height/spread

Some cultivars grow to as much as 5 to 6 feet tall, forming large, bushy mounds while others stay low and spreading, reaching up to 4 feet wide, but only 1 to 2 feet in height. Some cultivars are more compact.  The Lucky Series is the smallest Stutzmans grows and the Patriot Series is the largest.

Lantana growth rate

Lantanas generally grow rapidly, once night temperatures have warmed.

Lantana ornamental features

Lantana is valued for its long season of reliable bloom. Many cultivars display multiple colors within each two inch wide disc shaped flower head. The flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Foliage is coarse, lightly toothed and rough to the touch. Crushed leaves have a pungent scent, so you may want to locate where the plant it will not spread across walks if the odor offends you.

Lantana landscape use

Use lantana as annuals in flowerbeds or containers. Spreading cultivars are attractive as groundcovers or trailing over containers and walls.

Grow lantana in full sun. Lantana is tolerant of all soil types provided they are well drained and slightly acid. Lantana is tolerant to salt and is an excellent choice for plantings near the beach.

Lantana prefers warm soil. Plant lantana in spring, at least 2 weeks after all danger of frost is past. Hardy lantanas will typically show no growth in the spring until soil and air temperatures are quite warm.

Lantana maintenance

Water:

Newly planted lantanas will need to be kept moist for the first few weeks until the roots have spread into the surrounding soil.

While established lantanas are drought tolerant, performance, bloom, and growth rate will be reduced if they are too dry for a long period. During their blooming period, give them a thorough watering once a week if they do not receive an inch of rain that week, more often in containers. Avoid overhead watering. Overly frequent overhead watering can make plant more susceptible to diseases and root rot.

Pruning:

Prune lantana periodically during summer by lightly shearing the tipgrowth to encourage repeat blooming. Plants that have become too large for their allotted space may be pruned back by up to a third of their height and spread. Water and lightly fertilize newly cut back plants and they will return to bloom quickly.

Fertilizer:

Lantana requires little fertilizer.  Excessive fertilizer may reduce flowering and make plants more susceptible to disease.  However in containers a regular fertilizer regime is needed to keep plant growing and blooming well.

Lantana is a great plant for summer.  It has all the characteristics I need from a plant; quick growth, lots of flowers, extreme heat tolerance, attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies, and not attractive to dear and rabbits.  The fact that is comes in many sizes and colors makes it very versatile in containers as well as in the ground.  If you have not tried it I encourage you to try this summer.  If you have more questions or questions on any topic please e-mail me at
retail@stutzmans.com.

Thanks,

Jason

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