Lantana is a tropical genus of small shrubs and perennials native to parts of South America and Africa. Members of the Verbenaceae family, lantanas are grown for their low-growing, mounding, or trailing habit. These plants are also popular for their long-lasting flowers that bloom from spring till frost, or year-round in warmer locations. Lantana has colorful umbels of tubular flowers that are usually lavender, yellow, orange, red, or white in color. Lantana’s blooms change color as they age, resulting in a spectacular combination of colors. The fragrant flowers attract numerous pollinators, particularly hummingbirds and butterflies. Lantana is ideal for wildlife plantings, rock gardens, xeric landscapes, borders, containers, and hanging baskets.
Lantana should be planted in a location where it will receive full sun. These drought-tolerant plants thrive in hot conditions with regular moisture in well-drained soil. Lantana is low maintenance and will not need to be fertilized often, as too much nitrogen will decrease flowering. Most species of lantana will grow 1-3 feet tall and wide, although some can grow up to 5 feet tall. Lantana is hardy to zones 8-11 and is used as an annual in colder regions. In areas where lantana can overwinter, it can become quite invasive in gardens and natural areas. Lantana should be planted with perennials and annuals that can easily compete with this fast-growing, spreading plant.
Shrubs To Plant With Lantana
Planting lantana with shrubs generates a layered, full look in the garden. Since lantana is relatively low-growing, shrubs will add height and structure to your landscape. Choose shrubs that thrive in full sun and well-drained soil.
Panicled hydrangeas, Hydrangea paniculata, are excellent shrubs for sunny locations, although they grow best with some afternoon shade. Available in numerous cultivars, these shrubs produce masses of flower heads in hues of white and pink. These large flowers complement the delicate, colorful blossoms of lantana for a long-lasting bloom period.
Growing lantana with butterfly bush, Buddleia, will create a haven for pollinators. Butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees will flock to these nectar-rich flowers in summer and fall. Both panicled hydrangeas and butterfly bushes can grow anywhere from 4-15 feet tall and wide, so be sure to plant lantana towards the front of these shrubs to ensure it can get enough light.
Perennials To Plant With Lantana
Lantana should be planted with sun-loving perennials that bloom at similar or different times for season-long interest. Because lantana is drought tolerant once established, they are good candidates for xeric gardens, which focus on conserving water by growing drought-tolerant plants. When growing lantana in a xeriscape, plant it with other plants adapted to low irrigation, such as succulents, yucca, and many species of grasses, like Schizachyrium.
Lantana is also a great choice for Mediterranean-inspired gardens, where it grows well with aromatic, flowering perennials like Russian sage, lavender, and yarrow. In rock gardens, grow lantana with sedum. There are many species and varieties of sedum available, many of which are shallow-rooted and adapted to rocky soils. Additionally, milkweed (Asclepias) and coneflowers (Echinacea) are great pollinator plants to grow in wildlife gardens with lantana.
Annuals To Plant With Lantana
Growing lantana with annuals allows ultimate versatility in the garden, as these plants can be switched out year after year. To create a carpet of eye-catching blooms, grow lantana with similar low-growing annuals such as verbena and mecardonia. These small, mounding or trailing plants blend well with lantana for a nice annual groundcover.
The short umbels of lantana look stunning when paired with taller spikes of flowers, such as those of snapdragons and angelonia. Snapdragons bloom profusely in spring and fall, fading midway during the heat of summer. Angelonia fills in once snapdragon fades, ensuring season-long color. For an added diversity of flowers, grow lantana with globe amaranth (Gomphrena globosa), which has rounded puffs of single-headed blooms in summer and fall. When planted with lantana, these annuals will all provide a vivid landscape of varying textures, colors, and sizes.
Although it is a shrub, oleander (Nerium oleander) is hardy to zones 8-11 and grown as an annual in cooler regions. Oleander is a very adaptable shrub for sunny gardens, offering showy clusters of flowers in a variety of colors. Like lantana, oleander blooms from spring to fall in zones above 8, creating an endless display of flowers when grown together.
Best Companion Plants For Lantana in Containers
Lantana pairs nicely with many plants in potted gardens due to its flexibility and ability to thrive in containers. This plant doubles as both a filler and a spiller in containers, especially when planting trailing species and cultivars. Lantana and its container companions should be placed in a sunny spot and watered whenever the soil is dry.
Choose taller, thriller plants such as angelonia and coleus for a focal point of your containers. Fill in the space with lantana in addition to trailing annuals such as petunias, calibrachoas, and mecardonias. Trailing foliage plants such as sweet potato vine will also add a complete, full look to containers.
Plants Not To Grow With Lantana
Lantana cannot tolerate deep shade or wet feet. Avoid planting it in locations where it will not receive sufficient sunlight or where it will be too wet. Lantana can suffer from root rot in overly moist soils and will bloom less in shady spots. Because of this, lantana should not be planted with shade-loving plants or plants that need extra moisture, such as woodland plants, wetland plants, and many species of ferns. Do not plant lantana under tall, overhanging trees and shrubs, or in areas with poor drainage. When grown with these incompatible plants, either lantana or its neighbors will languish.
Best Plants To Grow With Lantana
Lantana should be planted with other sun-loving plants that prefer well-drained soil. Grow it with shrubs like butterfly bush and perennials like coneflowers and milkweed for a pollinator-friendly garden. Lantana can be planted in xeric, Mediterranean, and rock gardens with ornamental grasses, yucca, Russian sage, lavender, yarrow, and sedum. Plants with colorful, showy blooms like panicled hydrangeas, angelonia, globe amaranth, and oleander will complement the flowers of lantana. Petunias, mecardonias, and sweet potato vine are great companion plants for lantana in containers.