Learn how to grow lantana. Growing lantana requires no special attention, it is a small shrub that is grown for its fragrant colorful flowers that attract bees, butterflies and nectar feeding birds.
Lantana is a beautiful wild plant that evoke the memories of wild tropical field, it grows in almost all tropical and subtropical parts of South America, Africa, Australia, North America and South East Asia. In most of the tropical countries it is an invasive plant and considered as weed. Still, it is grown for its colorful flowers that release seductive fragrance, more intense in the evening. Fragrance of lantana depends on the variety you are growing, hybrid varieties are more fruity and mildly scented. Lantana flowers also attract bees, butterflies and nectar feeding birds.
USDA Zones— 8 – 11
Other names — Shrub verbenas, Viburnum lantana, Raimuniya, Unnichedi, Red sage, Wild sage, Yellow Sage and Ghaneri.
Most common species
Lantana Montevidensis is native to South America, and is characterized by white, purple or lavender colored scented flowers. If given support it can grow as a climbing vine and without support as groundcover.
It can be grown in pots with other upright growing plants on which it can climb or in hanging basket for dangling effect.
Lantana camara is a semi-shrub that can grow around 2 m tall. It produces scented inflorescence in many different colors including red, yellow, white, pink and orange on a dense and compact shrub with many branches.
Propagation and Planting Lantana
Seed propagation of lantana is easy, although it will not grow true if seeds are from hybrid variety. Lantana can also be propagated from cuttings taken from new growth.
Plant lantana when last forecast date of frost has passed and slight warmness of spring arrives. Whereas, in tropics you can plant lantana in any season.
Requirments for Growing Lantana
To have a healthy and profusely blooming lantana you must carefully choose the area to cultivate it. Lantana needs full sun and dry location.
In tropics you can grow lantana in partial shade too.
Lantana is a drought tolerant plant once established and grows in dry soil. Water it only once a week by taking care not to wet the leaves or flowers. Let the soil dry out between the watering spells to prevent mold and mildew caused by overwatering.
In peak summer or when plant is young do regular watering.
Lantana is very undemanding plant and thrives in most soil types. It prefers rich, well drained soil with slightly acidic to neutral pH level.
The key to grow lantana is neglecting it. Do not overfertilize and do economical watering. It is a low maintenance plant.
Lantana should be fertilized twice a month with liquid fertilizer for flowering plants.
Remove inflorescence with faded flowers time to time and not allowing the plant to set fruits that contain seeds, which weaken the plant and shorten the flowering period.
Prune the plant to promote dense growth flowers. Pinch new shoots off with your fingers to encourage more branches and lush growth.
Also cut off dead and long branches time to time with a small pair of scissors.
Lantana is a tropical plant, in colder climates it does not overwinter on the ground but in pots. Before the onset of winter trim the plant 1/3 or even 1/2 and move it inside to a warm place in temperature around 50 F (10 C).
Growing Lantana in Pots
Growing lantana in pots is easy, here are a few tips that might help you. It requires a little more care than growing on ground like frequent pruning and watering.
Before watering always check out the moisture with your finger tips, water only when top 1 inch of soil is dry, never keep the lantana in moist soil. To prevent the lantana from becoming leggy, prune it about once a month.
Pests and Diseases
Lantana is resistant to most of the diseases but it might be attacked by some common pests like spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids when grown in poor conditions.
Warning: Some of the lantana varieties like “Lantana Camara” are mildly poisonous, especially for cattle. Lantana berries both unripe and ripe are poisonous, although its ingestion doesn’t cause severe toxicity. Symptoms like constipation, diarrhea, mouth irritation and abdominal pain occurs.
Also Read: Common Flowers that are Poisonous