Lantana is a genus of about 150 species of perennial flowering plants in the verbena family, Verbenaceae. They are native to tropical regions of the Americas and Africa but exist as an introduced species in numerous areas, especially in the Australian-Pacific region, South and Northeastern part of India. Hardy in USDA zones 8-11, most gardeners enjoy the stunning lantana in the summer only, used as pretty flowering borders and container plants. Lantana plants are famous for their round clusters of flowers. Flowers colors can be yellow, red, white, orange, purple, or or bicolored. Growing 3 to 4 feet tall and 1-3 feet wide, plant lantanas in full sun where all pollinators can enjoy them. This plant can be toxic to dogs and cats.
Lantana can be planted in the spring once the threat of frost and freezing temperatures cease. This plant likes warm temperatures, so you may not see abundant growth until steady warm weather is present. Lantana thrives in well-draining soil that is slightly acidic. Choose a spot that will get at least 6 hours of sun each day. This plant will tolerate some afternoon shade, but will bloom less in a shady area. Newly planted Lantana will need regular watering to promote root development.
Newly planted Lantana will require regular watering to promote healthy root development. Once established, this plant requires little maintenance and is considered drought tolerant. Typically, one inch of water each week will keep the plant happy. It is best to water the plant slowly and thoroughly so that moisture seeps down to the roots. Regular watering promotes bountiful full sized flowers. If blooming seems to slow, try giving the plant more water.
Lantana is a very low-maintenance plant that does not require fertilizer. In fact, too much fertilizer can actually decrease the production of flowers. During the spring, before new growth appears, a light dose of all purpose fertilizer can be applied. A balanced 20-20-20 granular fertilizer will work fine. Lantana grown in a container may need an additional liquid fertilizer once a month. It is best to water well after each application of fertilizer.
Pruning Lantana is a good idea, as it will prevent the plant from taking over the garden area and crowding out other plants. If you are growing Lantana as an annual, you can prune lightly to encourage new growth. Pinch the tips of the stems by 1-3 inches to encourage more flower production. Overgrown plants can be cut back by a third of the new growth. If you are growing Lantana as a perennial, in the early spring, cut off the dead wood by one third to stimulate new growth.
Caring For Lantana in Pots
Plant Lantana in a container that has good drainage holes. Place the container in a location that will get at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. During the first few weeks of planting, keep the plant evenly moist, but not soggy. Lanta is a drought tolerant plant. Once established, an inch of water per week is enough. Do not water unless the top inch of soil is dry to the touch. Do not fertilize unless the soil is poor. Deadhead when necessary to promote more blooms.
Winter Care for Lantana
Gardeners in colder zones prefer to grow Lantana as an annual that will bloom until frost. This plant self seeds, so don’t be surprised if it shows up in your garden again in the spring. Container grown Lantanas can be brought indoors for the winter. The plant will go dormant in the fall. Place the container in an unheated garage near a window during the cold season. Turn the plant occasionally so all sides of the plant get a bit of sun from the window. Once the threat of frost is over. Take the pot outdoors and water the plant well.