As full sun-loving bedding plants that produce flowers in abundance, Lantanas are made to order.
Plant them in your outdoor garden when all danger of frost pasts.
In warm areas of the south where frost seldom if ever occurs, colorful lantanas can be grown all year in the garden.
There they will bloom constantly, needing only occasional trimming to keep them in shape.
I particularly like growing Lantana as trees or standards to show off their flowers.
Lantanas The Verbena Relatives
Lantana plants are members of the verbena plant family. The popular annual Verbena does not grow as tall as Lantana bushes and trees.
However, their free blooming habits and small tubular clusters of flowers look very similar.
Lantana flowers come in red, orange, pink, lavender and yellow.
One variety has yellow blossoms that turn to orange as they age. This bicolor effect is striking.
Lantana foliage is rough to the touch, but as a whole produces a bank of pleasing deep green.
Many new lantana flower colors and combinations have been developed over the years. Start your lantana collection by ordering new varieties in the spring.
Not only does lantana produce flowers all summer long but they solve a common problem in the landscape – the space between a sidewalk and foundation, facing south.
It is not only hot but often dry and they are drought tolerant. After a few weeks in late spring and early summer, when the young lantanas are getting established, they thrive in this difficult situation.
Lantanas withstand the first light frosts of fall. If you want to carry over old plants to the next season, dig them.
Prune the roots and tops back severely and pot in a moist mixture of equal parts sand, peat moss, and garden loam.
Lantanas can be wintered in a cool, sunny window by keeping the soil on the dry side (but never completely dry).
Take Lantana Cuttings in August
During the outdoor season, lantanas may grow into small shrubs as tall as four feet and sometimes more.
When this is the case, taking cuttings will be easier. It is not easy to “downsize” and pot oversized plants.
- Select cuttings with leaf joints close together
- Make each cutting three or four inches in length
- When you cut, take a heel of wood from the main stem
To root the cuttings, first fill a pot or other container with moist, clean, gritty sand or perlite.
Two parts sand (or perlite) and one peat moss make a good starter soil mix. NOTE: Less danger of fungus troubles if sand or perlite is used.
- Remove the leaves from the lowest node
- Dip the heal of each cutting in rootone
- Set each cutting deep enough to cover the heel and the lowest node.
While Roots Are Forming
After planting, cover the cuttings with a clear plastic soda bottle or the slip entire container into a plastic bag.
- Set the container in a shaded, protected place.
- Keep the rooting medium moist.
- Unless the weather is unusually warm and dry, remove the plastic bottle for a while each day, or leave the plastic bag opened.
- The fresh air encourages healthy growth.
- When cuttings have rooted, pot in moist soil as outlined earlier.
Lantana Flowers Attract Butterflies and Hummingbirds
Even though the Lantana plant is poisonous butterflies and hummingbirds show their approval of lantana flowers. At certain seasons they come by regularly during the early morning and late afternoon for nectar from the flowers.
For a thrill, note the hours they come and sit quietly near the lantanas.
Go plant some lantanas and enjoy the vivid colors.