Lantana Flower Color Change: Why Do Lantana Flowers Change Colors

Lantana is a perennial shrub hailing from tropical regions of Africa and South America. These tropical, perennial plants love high heat and high humidity, and given the right conditions, they produce massive quantities of brightly colored flowers year-round. 

multi-colored flowering lantanaPin

Attractive Lantana flowers grow in multicolored clusters in shades of: 

  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Purple
  • White
  • Pink
  • Red

It is not unusual to see several different colors of flowers within one cluster.

Tropical Lantana plants are winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 8 through 11. However, when kept in tropical and semi-tropical settings, these pretty Evergreen perennials will produce flowers in a wide range of shades depending upon their cultivars. In this article, we explore the topic of Lantana colors. Read on to learn more.

What Are The Colors Of Lantana Flowers?

Lantana flower clusters are typically about 2″ inches across, and each flower has five lobes. The clusters contain flowers of varying shades, and the colors of the flowers change as the blooms mature.

Lantana blooms most profusely throughout the spring and summer months in areas with colder winter months and may die back during the cooler months. Flower colors vary depending upon the lantana variety or cultivar, the weather, and the maturity of the blooms. 

3 Popular Lantana Cultivars Produce Differently Colored Flowers

Lantana Camara is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 10 through 11. This plant produces blooms in white, purple, yellow, orange, and red shades.

Lantana montevidensis (Weeping Lantana) is a type of trailing Lantana which is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 8 through 10. This variety bears purple blossoms with yellow centers. 

Lantana depressa (Pineland Lantana) is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 8 through 11. This variety is very common in the state of Florida. Its blooms initially appear in shades of bright yellow. As the flowers mature, they become orange.

Why Do Mature Lantana Flowers Turn Different Colors?

Lantana bushes are a member of the verbena family of plants. Like many of their relatives, they produce flowers that may be one color when they initially appear as buds. However, when the flowers open, a new shade appears. As the open flowers mature, the colors may transition or deepen.

Each cluster of flowers contains blooms of several different ages. This has the effect of creating clusters of flowers of different colors. Furthermore, as the seasons change, the colors of the flowers change.

There may also be some reproductive meaning hidden in the flowers’ color changes. The purpose of flowers is to attract pollinators. Flowers do this through both fragrance and color. For this reason, a plant may exhibit blooms in different shades at different times of year to attract specific pollinators.

Chemical Changes Cause Color Changes In Lantana Flowers

Wild Lantana blooms change colors after pollination. The plant starts with yellow flowers and then transition into orange and red. This may be because their primary pollinators, thrips, are attracted to yellow but not too orange and red. Once the flowers are pollinated, the presence of thrips is no longer beneficial.

American Red Blush is another type of Lantana that produces red flowers with bright yellow centers before pollination. After pollination, the plant produces anthocyanin pigments that cause the yellow centers to turn orange. The flower then becomes an intense red.

Generally, chemical changes in Lantana flowers following pollination are responsible for the changing colors. Before pollination, the flowers contain more carotenoids, which create shades of yellow and orange. Following pollination, the flowers begin to produce anthocyanins. This produces a different pigment that results in purple and red shades.

JOIN Our FREE Plant Care Newsletter 

By entering your email address you agree to receive a daily email newsletter from Plant Care Today. We'll respect your privacy and unsubscribe at any time.