Lantana, scientifically known as Lantana camara, is a flowering plant in the Verbenaceae family that is native to tropical regions of the Americas. It is an extremely hardy annual that is a must-have for many of our customers. Lantana blooms all season long in a multitude of bright colors, from white to yellow to orange to pink to red and even purple and many colors in between. While we won’t always have the same varieties every week, we can always promise a full table of colorful lantana.
Lantana typically grows between 2 to 6 feet in height and spreads outwards to form a bushy and rounded shape. Some dwarf varieties, such as Lantana ‘Chapel Hill Gold,’ stay more compact, reaching a height of around 1 to 2 feet. The growth habit of Lantana is upright and spreading, with numerous branching stems that create a full and lush appearance.
Caring for Lantana
Lantana is a relatively low-maintenance plant that is easy to cultivate. It thrives in full sun, although it can tolerate some partial shade. However, the plant requires at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily to produce abundant blooms. Lantana prefers well-draining soil that is fertile and rich in organic matter. Ensure that the soil has good drainage to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot. The plant is drought-tolerant once established, but regular watering is necessary during its initial growth phase.
Lantana is a relatively low-fertilizer plant, but a balanced slow-release fertilizer can be applied during the growing season to promote healthy growth and abundant flowering. Regular pruning is beneficial for Lantana to maintain its shape, encourage bushier growth, and remove any dead or diseased branches. Prune the plant in early spring before new growth emerges, removing about one-third of the old growth.
Leaves and Flowers
The leaves are generally ovate or lance-shaped and have a textured surface. They are arranged in pairs along the stems and emit a distinct, pungent scent when crushed. The foliage is typically dark green, although some varieties may have variegated or serrated leaves, adding to their visual appeal even when the plant is not blooming.
The true beauty of Lantana lies in its flowers. The flowers are small and tubular, clustered together in dense umbels. They come in a wide range of vibrant colors, including shades of yellow, orange, red, pink, and purple. In addition, Lantana is unique in its ability to change flower color as the blooms mature. For example, a cluster of flowers may start as yellow and gradually transition to orange and then red as they age. This creates a stunning multicolored effect on a single plant, often called “tricolor” or “multicolor” Lantana.
Our Selection of Lantana
- ‘Miss Huff’: This variety is known for its vigorous growth and large clusters of vibrant orange and pink flowers. It is a reliable perennial and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.
- ‘New Gold’: ‘New Gold’ is a compact variety that stays around 1 to 2 feet tall. It features bright yellow flowers and is perfect for borders, containers, or hanging baskets.
- ‘Dallas Red’: ‘Dallas Red’ is a favorite among gardeners for its intense red flowers and bushy growth habit. It is a heat-tolerant variety that adds a pop of color to any landscape.
- ‘Chapel Hill Gold’: This dwarf variety reaches a height of about 1 to 2 feet and produces clusters of golden-yellow flowers. It is ideal for smaller gardens or containers.
- ‘Radiation’: ‘Radiation’ is a stunning variety with multicolored flowers that change from yellow to orange and red as they mature. It is a compact plant and a real eye-catcher in any garden.
- ‘Confetti’: ‘Confetti’ is a variegated Lantana variety with green and yellow leaves and clusters of multicolored flowers. It adds a unique touch to any garden design.
Is Lantana an Annual or Perennial?
Depending on the local climate and growing conditions, Lantana can exhibit perennial and annual characteristics. In the Upstate, we grow Lantanas annually because it is sensitive to freezing temperatures. In regions with mild winters and frost-free conditions, Lantana is often grown as a perennial.
Is Lantana Poisonous?
Yes, lantana plants are considered toxic if ingested. Lantana contains compounds, such as triterpenoids and pentacyclic alkaloids, that can harm humans and animals if consumed. Ingesting parts of the plant, especially the berries, can lead to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and other digestive issues. In some cases, more severe reactions may occur.
Do Deer Eat Lantana?
Lantana is generally considered deer-resistant, meaning that deer tend to avoid feeding on it. The pungent aroma and bitter taste of lantana foliage make it less appealing to deer, and as a result, these plants are often left untouched in areas with deer populations. While no plant can be considered completely deer-proof, lantana is a good choice for gardens in regions where deer are prevalent, as it is less likely to attract their attention.