Lantana, a flowering shrub related to verbena, is a plant that delivers exceptional beauty and value. Whether you grow it as a perennial in frost-free zones or an annual in colder climates, lantana is a true workhorse in your landscape. With clusters of tiny flowers that bloom continuously from planting until frost or nearly year-round in warmer regions, lantana comes in a delightful array of colors, including pink, orange, red, yellow, lavender, and white, offering single, bicolor, or multicolor patterns.
Originating from tropical regions of the Americas and South Africa, lantana thrives in hot and dry conditions, bringing vibrant colors to beds, borders, and containers. Its flowers are a magnet for pollinators such as butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds, making it a fantastic addition to any garden. Here's how to successfully grow and care for lantana in your yard.
- Wait until all danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed up before planting lantana. Choose a sunny location that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. Space the plants 1 to 6 feet apart, depending on the variety and whether you are growing lantana as an annual or perennial shrub.
- Planting Process:
- Loosen the soil in the planting area and dig a hole slightly wider and deeper than the root ball.
- Gently untangle the roots of the lantana plant if they are pot bound, then place it in the hole with the top of the root ball level with the surrounding soil.
- Backfill the hole with soil, lightly tamping it down to remove air pockets, and water thoroughly.
- Keep the plants well-watered until they become established.
- Lantana Plant Care:
- Soil: Lantana thrives in rich, well-draining soil. For potted lantana, use a high-quality all-purpose potting mix and ensure the containers have proper drainage.
- Watering: Keep the soil evenly moist, avoiding waterlogging. Once established, lantana becomes drought-tolerant. Water the plants when the top 2 inches of soil is dry, and provide more frequent watering during extreme heat or dry spells, especially for potted lantana.
- Fertilizing: Apply a balanced granular fertilizer during planting. For potted lantana, use a balanced water-soluble fertilizer once a month, as containers leach out nutrients faster. Avoid over-fertilizing, as it can lead to reduced blooms and weak growth.
- Pruning Lantana: As a perennial shrub, lantana may develop woody growth. In early spring, remove any dead or diseased branches and prune the plants back by up to a third of their size to encourage new growth.
- Deadheading Lantana: For seed-producing lantana, deadheading is beneficial to promote more flowering and prevent seeding. Remove spent flowers as soon as they finish blooming.
- Encouraging Bushiness: To make lantana bushier, lightly prune the stem tips to stimulate more branching and flower buds. Shape the plant as needed to maintain its desired appearance.
By following these simple steps for lantana plant care, you'll enjoy the year-round beauty and pollinator-attracting benefits of this colorful and resilient shrub in your garden.
Is lantana a perennial?
Lantana is a perennial shrub in USDA zones 9-11. In colder regions, treat lantana as an annual or overwinter indoors.
Does lantana grow fast?
In optimal conditions, lantana grows quickly. Plants can be trimmed back as needed to promote branching and control growth.
Is lantana easy to grow?
When given the right growing conditions of full sun, fertile soil and regular water, lantana is an easy-care plant, even for beginner gardeners.
Do lantanas come back every year?
In frost-free regions, lantana planted outdoors comes back from year to year. In colder climates, lantana can be treated as an annual or overwintered indoors.
Is lantana poisonous?
All parts of lantana plant are toxic to pets and children. Leaves can cause skin irritation. The berries are the most poisonous part of the plant and can be deadly if ingested.
Why is lantana a problem?
Lantana can be invasive in warmer regions including parts of California, Florida, Texas and Hawaii. Cut off spent lantana flower heads to prevent seeds from forming and spreading.
Where is the best place to plant lantana?
Provide a site that receives full sun and has good soil drainage. Provide good air circulation to prevent powdery mildew and other diseases.
Does lantana need full sun?
Lantana performs best in a sunny location that receives 6 to 8 hours of full sun per day.
Do deer eat lantana?
The leaves of lantana have a pungent scent and rough texture that deer find distasteful.
Do hummingbirds like lantana?
The colorful flowers of lantana are highly attractive to hummingbirds as well as many beneficial insects.
LANTANA LANDSCAPING TIPS
Lantana is a versatile and vibrant plant that can add a splash of color and charm to your landscape. Whether you live in warmer regions or have colder climates, there are various creative ways to incorporate lantana into your garden design. Here are some exciting ideas to display lantana in all its beauty:
- Perennial Shrubs: In warmer regions, use lantana as a perennial shrub for foundation plantings, hedging, mixed borders, or striking mass plantings. Their continuous blooming will bring year-round joy to your landscape.
- Eye-Catching Containers: Create eye-catching containers by planting a smaller lantana specimen alongside other warm-season annuals with similar growing needs. The combination will result in a stunning display of colors and textures.
- Ground Cover Delight: Opt for a lantana ground cover variety and blanket slopes or borders with its lush foliage and blossoms. This low-maintenance ground cover will add a splash of color to otherwise bare areas.
- Hanging Baskets of Beauty: Design a lantana hanging basket using a mounding or trailing variety either on its own or paired with other complementary plants. Let it spill gracefully over the edges, creating a cascading display of colors.
- Thrilling, Filling, Spilling Effect: Incorporate a mounding type of lantana as a filler element in beds or containers alongside a thriller plant like an ornamental grass and trailing plants such as sweet potato vine or lobelia. This "thriller, filler, spiller" combination will create an eye-catching arrangement.
- Butterfly Garden Delight: Plant a butterfly garden featuring lantana and other butterfly-attracting plants like pentas, ageratum, and phlox. The vibrant colors and sweet nectar will invite these beautiful creatures to dance around your garden.
- Harmonious Borders: Create stunning borders by massing lantana alongside other heat-tolerant plants like coleus, ornamental grasses, cleome, and petunias. This combination will give you months of non-stop blooms and color.
- Stand-Alone Statement: Feature a larger lantana variety as a stand-alone focal point in a bed or container to make a bold statement. Its abundant flowers will draw attention and admiration.
- Edging Elegance: Use a mounding or ground cover lantana variety to edge pathways or mixed borders. This will add a touch of elegance and definition to your garden design.
With these creative landscaping ideas, you can showcase the beauty and versatility of lantana in your garden, transforming it into a colorful and inviting paradise for both you and your pollinator friends.
Companion Plants for Lantana: Perfect Pairings for Your Garden
Lantana, with its preference for full sun, rich well-draining soil, and regular water, can create stunning combinations when paired with other plants sharing similar cultural needs. Whether you're planting hanging baskets, window boxes, beds, borders, or containers, consider these perfect pairings to elevate the beauty of your garden:
- Hanging Baskets and Window Boxes:
- Combine an upright or mounding lantana variety with the following plants:
- Superbells® Plum calibrachoa
- Proven Accents® Sweet Caroline Sweetheart Lime sweet potato vine
- Supertunia® Really Red petunia
- Colorblaze® Chocolate Drop coleus
- Beds and Borders:
- Mass a ground cover or mounding lantana variety alongside the following plants:
- Angelface® Blue angelonia
- Vermillionaire® firecracker plant
- Graceful Grasses® King Tut® Egyptian papyrus
- Unplugged® So Blue™ mealycup sage
- Use an upright or mounding lantana variety as a filler element in combination with the following plants:
- Graceful Grasses® purple fountain grass
- Toucan® Coral canna lily
- Superbena® Imperial Blue verbena
- Sunsatia® Coconut nemesia
By combining lantana with these suitable companion plants, you'll create breathtaking displays that complement each other's growth requirements and beauty. Elevate your garden with these perfect pairings and enjoy a delightful and harmonious landscape all season long.