- Varieties Of Lantana: Learn About Lantana Plants For The Garden
- Lantana Varieties
- Nonstop Blooms with Lantana
- Lantana ‘Gold Mound’
- Plants Similar to Verbena & Lantana
- Basket of Gold Aurinia
- Lantana Or Shrub Verbena: Love It Or Hate It Plant
Varieties Of Lantana: Learn About Lantana Plants For The Garden
Summer flowers are the song in the season’s heart. Lantanas are perfect examples of lively colored blooms that persist all season long. Over 150 species make up the family and there are many more types of lantana from which to choose due to heavy hybridization. One of the lantana varieties, Lantana camara, should be avoided in moist, warm regions where it can naturalize and become a pest plant. Most of varieties of lantana are annuals unless grown in the warmer regions of the continent.
Lantana nursery species are derived primarily from Lantana camara and Lantana montevidensis, a trailing form. Common lantana (L. camara) is the most cultivated form of the group.
Wild lantana (Lantana horrida), found in Texas and other warm, arid regions, has pungently scented leaves. Lantana plants for the garden can flower all year in warmer climates. There are now dwarf forms of the plant as well as the trailing and bushy varieties of lantana.
Trailing Lantana Plant Varieties
Lantana plants that are hybridized from L. montevidensis produce long branches. These are useful in containers as trailing accents and most get less than 12 inches (30.5 cm.) tall. ‘Clear White,’ ‘Trailing Yellow’ and ‘Weeping Lavender’ have names indicative of their spreading habit. There is also ‘New Gold’ and ‘Alba’ as well as ‘White Lightning’ and ‘Lavender Swirl.’
The dwarf or petite lantana varieties also tend to have a spreading habit. The smallest lantana available are in the Patriot series. ‘Patriot Popcorn’ and ‘Patriot Honeyglove’ are white and yellow with Honeyglove adding blush pink to the flower display.
Bushy Types of Lantana
One of the most commonly grown species is “Miss Huff.” It is a reliable bushy form which can get 5 to 6 feet (1.5-2 m.) tall in one season. The flowers are a gorgeous mixture of coral, orange, pink, and yellow.
For elegant red, orange and yellow blooms, try ‘New Red.’ ‘Samantha’ is bright yellow and has variegated foliage.
Many of the bushy forms are also sterile, meaning they won’t produce the toxic fruits. ‘Pinkie’ is bicolor and a compact sterile plant, while ‘Patriot Dean Day Smith’ is a pastel plant that produces a 5-foot (1.5 m.) tall mound.
One of the most astounding lantana plant varieties is ‘Silver Mound,’ which as its name suggests, has icy white flowers with golden centers.
Popcorn Lantana Varieties
One of the quirkiest types of lantana are popcorn varieties. They are developed for their clusters of fruit. Plants grow 3 feet (1 m.) tall with a similar spread and produce elongated colorful fruit after bloom.
Popcorn lantana (Lantana trifolia) include two main cultivars: Fruity Pebbles and Lavender Popcorn. These are native to Central and South America and prefer hot, sunny locations. The species is also known as 3-leaved lantana due to the leaves which appear in whorls of three.
The bright purple to pink dense clusters of fruits are often thought to be more ornamental than the flowers themselves, and the plants grow rapidly in tropical to sub-tropical regions.
Nonstop Blooms with Lantana
I know what you want. Flowers all week. Flowers all month. Flowers from spring until fall. Flowers that you never have to water, spray, or fertilize. Flowers that laugh at heat and snicker at drought. Such flowers have a name–lantana. Best of all, you can plant them now.
Native to tropical America, lantanas may be annuals or perennials, depending on where you live. Tiny flowers in tight clusters that resemble miniature nosegays appear nearly continuously in warm weather. Although some selections boast flowers in solid colors, many have bicolored clusters. A lantana garden is butterfly heaven; no flowers do a better job of attracting them.
Common lantana (Lantana camara) is a rounded, shrubby plant that you sometimes see in older gardens in the Deep South. It grows 4 to 5 feet high and wide and sports orange, red, or yellow flowers. Trailing lantana (L. montevidensis) has thinner, more pliable stems and spreads, rather than mounding. It grows about 1 foot tall and up to 6 feet wide with lavender or white flowers. Most lantanas sold today are hybrids or selections of these two species.
Great Choice of Colors
You can choose from a bevy of lantanas in just about every shade but blue. Most popular are the low-growing, spreading types, which are great for using in hanging baskets, cascading over walls, or massing in large sweeps. Unfortunately, most nurseries sell lantanas by color, not by name. Still, it’s worth looking for these specific types.
This article is from the July 2005 issue of Southern Living.
Lantana ‘Gold Mound’
Tropicals and Tender Perennials
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)
Where to Grow:
Can be grown as an annual
All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Unknown – Tell us
Blooms all year
Unknown – Tell us
Soil pH requirements:
Unknown – Tell us
Unknown – Tell us
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
Castro Valley, California
Fort Worth, Texas
Plants Similar to Verbena & Lantana
tagpfauenauge auf lantana image by Heike Loechel from Fotolia.com
Lantana and verbena plants feature distinctive spreading growth habits and flowers. These plants belong to the vervain family (Verbenaceae) of plants found in the subtropic and tropic Americas. Both plants produce pleasing clusters of small flowers in bright colors. Plants with similar growth and flowering tendencies allow gardeners to reap the benefits of these beautiful cultivars in different growing conditions.
Creeping phlox exhibits a spreading growth habit similar to verbena and lantana. This plant grows in a mounded form and produces small blooms spaced throughout the plant. Creeping phlox reaches a mature height of 6 inches and can grow up to 2 feet wide. The border plant creeps along the soil surface and produces light green leaves. The plant produces flowers each spring in a range of colors including pink, white, violet or red with simple, five-petal flowers. Like the verbena and lantana, phlox serves as a perfect ground cover plant with both interesting foliage and flowers. Plant phlox in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 9. Shear or prune back spent blooms to promote foliage growth in the center of each plant.
Basket of Gold Aurinia
The perennial basket of gold spreads much like verbena and lantana to encompass a wide area in the garden bed. Basket of gold, also called aurinia, likes full sun and well-drained soil. This early bloomer produces flower in shade of yellow in April and May. Aurinia reaches heights of up to 18 inches and is prized for the cascading growth form of the plant. Flowers resemble lantana and verbena with tight, small flowers. Plant in zones 4 to 9 for best growing results. Gardeners commonly use basket of gold in rock gardens or as an edging plant.
Annual candytuft produces flower clusters similar to lantana. The groups of petals form bunches of long-lasting flowers when planted in full sun. Candytuft produces blooms in white, lilac or pink. Mature growth reaches up to 18 inches with a mounded growth habit. Candytuft works well as an edging or retaining wall plant that allows full display of the trailing growth habit of this plant. Plant candytuft in well-drained soil for best growing results. This plant also responds well to container environments. The perennial variety is called evergreen candytuft and grows best in hardiness zones 3 to 9. Candytuft respond well to pruning after blooming finishes to promote branching throughout the plant.
Lantana Or Shrub Verbena: Love It Or Hate It Plant
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Lantana is a beautiful, easy to grow garden plant in the verbena family, Verbenaceae. It has beautiful colorful flowers that are very tropical-looking and attract butterflies and hummingbirds. The flowers typically change color as they mature, resulting in inflorescences that are two- or three-colored. Lantana is a tough, drought tolerant, long blooming plant. Lantana is commonly found along roadsides, fence rows, and in fields in Florida and southern California where it escaped cultivation. In the northern U.S., it is strictly a garden and greenhouse annual.
Most of the plants sold as lantana are either Spanish flag (species of section Lantana and their hybrids, including Lantana camara, Lantana depressa, Lantana hirsuta, Lantana horrida, L. splendens, L. strigocamara, etc.), or trailing lantana, which gives blue (or white) flowers all year round (Lantana montevidensis). Some species are invasive, and are considered to be noxious weeds, such as in South Asia, Southern Africa and Australia.
In this article we’ll talk mainly about Lantana camara. Gardeners either love or hate this plant. Really comes to mind a saying: “one man’s weed is another man’s flower” 🙂 Seems, those below USDA zone 8 love it and those south of it (especially in Florida) find it to be a pest. In many areas it has become an invasive species and established itself as a notorious weed. But it is not invasive north of zone 8 and is considered a perennial only from zone 8 and south.
Lantana camara flowers come in many different colors including red, yellow, white, pink and orange which differ depending on location in inflorescences, age, and maturity. After pollination occurs the color of the flowers change (typically from yellow to orangish, pinkish, or reddish), this is believed to be a signal to pollinators that the pre-change color contains a reward as well as being sexually viable, thus increasing pollination efficiency.
Lantana camara can survive in a wide range of climatic conditions, including drought, different soil types, heat, humidity and salt. This is a perfect plant for very hot porches and decks that have full sun. Flowers look fresh even in the long days of summer, when nothing else is blooming.
If you decide to grow Lantana in your garden, make sure you know that this plant is poisonous. Foliage and ripe berries contain the toxic substances with the toxins being in higher concentrations in the green berries. Cattle, sheep, horses, dogs, guinea pigs, and rabbits can be affected if they eat the plant.
Lantana berries look like blackberries so warn small children NOT to eat them (read more about Lantana’s toxicity below).
In spite of some negative reviews, many gardeners love this plant and grow an old fashion Lantana in their yards and gardens, just like my Grandma and other country folks use to have. The old wild variety have flowers with multiple colors and called “Ham & Eggs” as it has the same colors that can be found when staring into a plate of ham and eggs. 🙂 That is the only name you could hear the old country people called this bush.
There is also a discussion about Lantana’s smell. What does it smell to you? (please comment in the comments box below the article)
The main uses of this plant have historically been medicinal and ornamental.
Studies conducted in India have found that Lantana leaves can display antimicrobial, fungicidal and insecticidal properties. L. camara has also been used in traditional herbal medicines for treating a variety of ailments, including cancer, skin itches, leprosey, rabies, chicken pox, measles, asthma and ulcers. Extracts from the plant have also been used to treat respiratory infections in Brazil.
Interesting facts: The Soliga, Korava and Palliyar tribal people of the MM Hills in southern Karnataka, India use lantana to produce roughly 50 different products. It is considered a “near match” to highly priced alternatives, cane and bamboo. Furniture made from lantana is resistant to sun, rain, and termite damage.
Synonyms: Lantana aculeata, Lantana armata, Lantana mista, Camara vulgaris
Cultivars: Irene, Christine and Dallas Red (all tall-growing cultivars), Alba, Miss Huff (more cold-tolerant), New Gold
Native: tropical Americas and West Africa, but exist as an introduced species in numerous areas, especially in the Australian-Pacific region.
Plant type: Shrubs or Trailers. Annuals, Tropicals and Tender Perennials. A tender perennial treated as an annual in colder climates.
Hardiness: USDA zone 7 – 11
Light: Full Sun, Partial Sun
Soil: Sand, Loam, Mildly Acidic, Neutral, Mildly Alkaline, Well-Drained.
Moisture: Average Water Needs. Once established, lantana is fairly drought-tolerant.
Flowering period: Spring, Summer, Fall
Flower Color: Pink, Red, Orange, Bright Yellow, Purple/Lavender, Magenta , White
Repeat Bloomer: Yes
Fragrant: Flowers have citrus-sage scent. To some gardeners a scent similar to that of a passionfruit. The purple variety smells a bit like lilacs. Leaves have a spicy smell. To some gardeners leaves smell as a mixture of mint and camphor with a touch of onion. Others report that leaves have an unpleasantly strong odor, kinda like a foul scent.
Height: 30 – 180 cm (12 – 71 in)
Spread: 90 – 120 cm (36 – 48 in)
Time to plant: Spring
Propagation: From herbaceous stem cuttings. It is considered more difficult to start from seed.
Uses: Bedding, Containers, Fencing, Xeriscaping, Hanging baskets and planters on the patio, Groundcover, Honey plants, Butterfly Gardening, Mailbox Garden.
Fertilizer: You can feed them Osmocote if have problems with blooming.
photo by Alvesgaspar
Invasive: Yes. Lantana is considered damagingly invasive to natural areas in Florida and Hawaii. Considered a weed in parts of Australia. The World Conservation Union IUCN has included this species on their list of 100 of the world’s worst invasive species, an honor it shares with only 31 land plants.
Has Thorns: Fine spines on the leaves and stems can pierce the skin and cause irritation. Use gardening gloves when working with the plant.
Toxicity: All parts of plant are poisonous. The unripe fruit is toxic to humans. The foliage, seeds and fruits are toxic to many animals, including dogs if ingested. Lantana causes dermatitis in some individuals. Be sure to wash your hands after handling. Use gardening gloves.
West VA State University web site states: This ornamental shrub contains lantanin, a triterpenoid, and other compounds irritating to the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract. All parts of the plant are quite toxic and poisoning may occur year-round, but is most common in summer and fall. Many poisoning cases occur when clippings are thrown into the pasture. Lantana species, especially L. camara, contain pentacyclic triterpenoids that cause hepatotoxicity and photosensitivity when ingested by grazing animals such as sheep, goats, bovines, and horses. This has led to widespread livestock loss in the United States, South Africa, India, Mexico, and Australia.
• Once established, the plant will die to the ground after frost but recovers quickly every spring.
• Lantana does like to drop seeds. You will get a colony if not well monitored.
• The Native Florida Lantana is Lantana depressa. Suggestions to grow the much better behaved native Lantana depressa, or the non-native but easily controlled Lantana montevidensis in Florida instead of Lantana camara.
• A good pot plant for the summer months in the UK. I also grow in the greenhouse as a nectar plant for butterflies.
• Most flowers change color as they age.
• Good to plant where nothing else will grow. They can tolerate sandy soil and little water. This plant is heat-resistant, drought resistant, bug resistant deer-resistant, and vigorous.
• Cut it completely back to the ground in the fall after frost. It comes back strong and beautiful.
• Prune it during it’s growing season, just to keep it from getting too leggy and wild-looking.
• Tolerates well if to move it around or dig up and re-plant new plants that have seeded on their own.
photo by Frank Vincentz
• The plant must be deadheaded regularly in order to keep blooming and this better be done with gloves as touching the plant causes allergic reactions.
Source: wikipedia.org/wiki/Lantana_camara, plants.ces.ncsu.edu, wikipedia.org/wiki/Lantana
Cover photo by Joaquim Alves Gaspar
Do you grow Lantana (Shrub Verbena) in your garden? What is your experience with this plant? Please share with other fellow gardeners in the comments below!
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Safety notes: This website is for educational purposes only and is not medical advice, and please check with your doctor before using plants if you are pregnant, using medications or have other health conditions.
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