Lantana is a genus of about 150 species of perennial flowering plants in the verbena family, Verbenaceae. 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. Lantana is a sun loving annual plant characterized by sprawling growth, rough textured leaves and flower heads with dozens of tiny blooms, often in multi-colors of yellow, pink, orange, and white. Often the older outer flowers of each cluster are of a different hue than the younger, inner ones.
Common lantana (Lantana camara) is the most widely grown species in the garden. Its plants tend to be large and mound shaped, although some have spreading habit. Leaves are aromatic when bruised. Many cultivars and hybrids are available, including dwarf and trailing plants,
Trailing lantana (Lantana montevidensis) is another specie of the genus that is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant. It is best known for its colorful lavender to purple flowers and its drought tolerance. Often used as ground cover or trailing plant for containers and in the ground.
Lantana “New Gold”
New Gold Lantana (Lantana x hybrid ‘New Gold’) is a fast-growing annual with arching stems and profuse yellow-gold flowers. The compact bushes, growing up to 2 feet high and 4 feet across, bloom with yellow golden flower clusters resembling small bouquets. New Gold Lantana is one of many sterile hybrid varieties developed from the Common Lantana. ‘New Gold’ blooms profusely but never form berries. This ensures continuous flowering with minimum amount of upkeep.
- Bright, all yellow flowers, spreading habit.
- A sterile cultivar that does not produce berries.
- Flowers year-round.
Lantana ‘Dallas Red’
The Dallas Red Series (Lantana camara ‘Dallas Red’) is a shrub like lantana. It is one of the more compact lantana hybrids, growing taller than the trailing varieties, but not as wide. It features tricolor flowers that open all-red and only turn to orange and yellow with age, giving ‘Dallas Red’ the distinction of having the truest-red flowers of the available lantana hybrids. Dallas Red Lantanas offer brilliant color to beds and containers all season long and may be trained into tree-like standards in tropical zones.
- Upright, compact growth habit.
- Tricolor red, orange, and yellow flower.
- Great show of flowers that last from spring till frost.
- Remain constant bloomers in zones with hot climates.
Purple Trailing Lantana
Purple Trailing Lantana (Lantana montevidensis), also commonly known as weeping lantana, is prized for its low, spreading growth habit and the clusters of purple flowers it produces. This lantana, which grows as a perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11 and as an annual in other regions. Trailing lantana makes a great ground cover in tough areas.
Lucky series (Lantana camara ‘Lucky’) has a dwarf habit. It does not grow as vigorously compares to other cultivars. The series contains four shades of yellow and White. This dwarf form is a winner for containers and baskets and ideal for massin or along a pathway or border. Remains neat and tidy all season with little care.
In the Garden
Lantana is a wonderful and very colorful decorative plant for outdoor use on the patio or balcony. It can be grown as a potted tree, or planted as a bush and allowing the stems to spill over. An excellent annual for cold winter climates, and evergreen in frost-free climates
Species that with a trailing growth habit is often use as groundcover or tumbling from hanging baskets. Perfectly suited for erosion control, hillsides, borders, or containers. The small ground cover varieties work well when planted in mass.
- Bloom profusely from spring until frost.
- Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Deer Resistant.
- Colorful and heat-loving. Drought tolerant.
- Warning: All parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested. Its berries are poisonous to humans and leaves are highly toxic to animals. This applies for all varieties of Lantana. Care should be taken when handling the plant due to the possibility of skin irritation or allergic reaction.
Caring & Growing
Top growth winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-11 (roots hardy to Zone 9).
Best grown under in full sun
Very tolerant to poor soils and can be Easily grown as bedding plants in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils. If planting in the ground with a heavy clay soil, sand or a coarse bark my need to the added and thoroughly incorporated. If potted or planted in baskets a bagged commercial potting mix can be used.
Newly planted lantanas will need to be kept moist for the first few weeks until the roots have spread into the surrounding soil. Water well after planting and continue giving supplemental water for several weeks as the lantana establishes roots.
Once established, lantanas are drought tolerant, but performance, bloom, and growth rate will be reduced if they are too dry for a long period. For best results, water regularly throughout the entire growing season. In particular, during the blooming period, give plant a thorough watering once a week if they do not receive an inch of rain that week. Avoid overhead watering. Overly frequent overhead watering can make plant more susceptible to diseases and root rot.
Lantana requires little fertilizer. Fertilize lightly with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the spring when planting will usually be sufficient. Vigorously growing plants may be fertilized again in mid summer, provided plants are not water stressed. Lantanas respond well to liquid and slow release fertilizers.
Excessive fertilizer may encourages foliage growth at the expense of blooms while at the same time make plants more susceptible to disease.
Perennial lantanas should be pruned back hard in spring (March) to remove old growth and prevent woodiness. Cut back to about 6 to 12 inches from ground level. Avoid hard pruning in fall as this can cause reduced cold hardiness.
During summer, prune lantana periodically by lightly shearing the tip growth 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.