Lantana Ground Cover: Do Lantanas Make Good Ground Covers

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Lantana (aka Verbena) is a genus of over 150 species of versatile, quickly-grown perennials that make excellent additions to the landscape and flower garden. You may hear these plants correctly termed either Lantana montevidensis or Lantana sellowiana.

Many Lantanas can be successfully used as ground covers. This article discusses the use of Lantana as ground cover plants.  

Lantana Ground CoverPin

Choose Trailing Lantana Varieties As Ground Covers

Lantana is a beautiful, brilliantly colored, abundantly blooming yard and garden plant that is extremely attractive to butterflies and other pollinators. Lantana plants generally grow between 3′ and 5′ feet high or long. 

When choosing Lantana as a ground cover, look for trailing varieties. These fast-growing plants can be used as annual mass plantings or groundcovers through the spring and summer in areas with cold winter months.

In USDA hardiness zones nine and higher, plant trailing Lantana as a year-round ground cover. 

Trailing Lantana works well as a year-round ground cover in tropical settings because the plant originally comes from:

  • Southern Brazil
  • Argentina
  • Paraguay
  • Uruguay
  • Bolivia

This fast-growing Lantana species may only grow slightly over a foot high. Still, it rambles rapidly over the ground to create an attractive and fragrant sun, heat, and drought-tolerant ground cover.

While the plants may droop in scorching, dry climates, weekly deep watering should keep them looking their best. 

Take care when planting trailing Lantana in a tropical setting because its enthusiastic growth habits may quickly have it rambling out of your yard and into unintended areas. If it naturalizes successfully, it can quickly become invasive. 

What’s The Best Trailing Lantana Variety? 

Choosing a single best trailing Lantana (aka Shrub Verbena) is challenging. There are so wide varieties available in such a vast array of colors and growth habits that choosing the “best one” is just a matter of identifying and pursuing your personal preferences. 

Think about the color statement you want to make and choose from shades of:

  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Purple
  • White
  • Blue
  • Red

There are also color combination varieties; some change colors as the blooms mature. 

9 Popular Varieties of Trailing Lantana For Use As Ground Cover

  • White Trailing Lantana (Lantana montevidensis ‘Alba’) is an abundant bloomer. Its white flowers appear in sweet-smelling clusters.
  • White Lightning (Lantana sellowiana ‘Monma’) is another abundant bloomer producing gorgeous white blossoms throughout the growing season.
  • Spreading White (Lantana montevidensis ‘Spreading White’) also produces white blooms from early spring to late autumn.
  • Lavender Swirl ( Lantana sellowiana’ Monswee’) is a color-changing variety whose flowers emerge as white and then transition to lavender, followed by deep purple as they mature.
  • Hardy Purple Trailing Lantana (Verbenaceae) can withstand just a bit more cold than others. It can be planted as a perennial in USDA hardiness zones 8 to 11.
  • New Gold (Lantana x ‘New Gold’) is a hybrid with a mounding growth habit. It spreads as a ground cover to 6′ or 8′ feet. Plants grow to be 2′ or 3′ feet high. The blooms of this interesting Lantana are a very bright shade of yellow-gold. 
  • Rockland Shrub Verbena (Lantana depressa) is low-growing and presents masses of bright, multicolored blooms. 
  • Rough Shrub Verbena (Verbena rigida) is so named because of its rather hairy foliage. It is available in a wide variety of flower colors. 
  • Wild Sage or Button Sage (Lantana involucrata) thrives in a tropical setting and produces a rich, spicy scent. 

Versatile Trailing Lantana Is At Home In A Wide Variety Of Settings

If you live in a hot, dry, or tropical climate, trailing Lantana can quickly help you cover a lot of ground. It can do well in a mass planting in a large flower garden.

It helps retain soil on a hillside or slope. It happily trails from hanging baskets and adds the “spiller” element to combination planters.

In a cutting or pollinator garden, low-growing varieties create an excellent foundation, help shade roots, and maintain moisture in the soil to keep taller flower varieties healthy and happy. 

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