THIS COLORFUL GARDEN ADDITION IS A BEE & BUTTERFLY MAGNET
This lovely, hardy plant colors your landscape with its vibrant flowers in a range of colors. It’s a favorite of bees, butterflies, hummingbirds – and anyone who strolls by. Lantana is great for full sun areas and does well with very little water. In fact, it’s a highly drought tolerant plant that thrives in warm weather.
Lantana is a showstopper in your garden, hanging pots or flower boxes. Lantana enthusiasts find it extremely fragrant, and appreciate its long lasting color.
Caring for your Lantana
Lantana camara, commonly known as just Lantana, is a beautiful, versatile plant that brings a profusion of color and a tropical touch to your garden. Known for its clusters of bright flowers that bloom from spring to fall, lantana thrives with relatively low maintenance and is resistant to most diseases and pests. Originating from tropical Americas, this plant provides a welcoming habitat for pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
Lantana camara enjoys full sun, requiring at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. It’s a heat-loving plant and can withstand high temperatures that many other plants cannot. It can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11. However, in colder climates, you can grow it as an annual or indoor plant.
Lantana is not picky about soil conditions. It can grow in a variety of soil types, from sandy to loamy to clay. However, the soil must be well-draining to prevent root rot. Consider incorporating some organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, into the soil at planting time to provide nutrients and improve drainage.
Once established, lantana is highly drought-tolerant, making it a perfect choice for xeriscaping or low-water gardens. During the initial growth stage, water lantana once or twice a week. After the plant is established, you can decrease watering frequency. However, be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root diseases.
While lantana isn’t a heavy feeder, using a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the spring can promote vigorous growth and prolific blooming. A formula like 10-10-10 would be ideal. Avoid over-fertilizing, as excessive nitrogen can lead to lush foliage growth at the expense of flowering.
Pruning Lantana camara helps maintain its shape and size and encourages more prolific flowering. The best time to prune lantana is in late winter or early spring before new growth starts. Use sharp, clean pruning shears to cut back the plant to about a third or half of its height.
Lantana can be easily propagated from cuttings taken in late spring or early summer. Cut about 4-6 inches from a healthy, non-flowering stem. Remove the leaves from the lower half, dip the cut end in rooting hormone, and plant it in a pot filled with a mix of perlite and peat moss. Keep the cutting moist until roots form, usually in about a month.
Pest and Disease Management
Lantanas are generally pest and disease resistant. However, they can occasionally be attacked by pests like aphids, whiteflies, or lace bugs. If you notice these pests, use a strong jet of water to dislodge them or apply insecticidal soap. In terms of diseases, root rot can be a problem if the plant is overwatered or if the soil does not drain well.