When does lantana bloom?

Overwintering Lantana Plants – Caring For Lantanas Over Winter

Lantana is the answer to every gardener’s prayers. The plant requires amazingly little care or maintenance, yet it produces colorful blossoms all summer long. What about caring for lantanas over winter? Winter care for lantanas isn’t difficult in warm climates; but if you get frost, you’ll need to do more. Read on for information about overwintering lantana plants.

Overwintering Lantana Plants

Lantana (Lantana camara) is native to Central and South America. However, it has naturalized in the southeast part of the country. Lantana grows to 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide, with dark green stems and leaves and the familiar clusters of flowers in shades of red, orange, yellow and pink. These blossoms cover the plant all summer long.

When you worry about caring for lantana plants over winter, remember that lantana can grow outdoors all winter long in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 or 10 and above without any special precautions. For these warmer zones, you do not have to concern yourself with lantana winter care.

In colder zones, many gardeners prefer to grow lantana as an easy-grow annual blooming vigorously until the frost. It also self-seeds, and may appear the following spring without any action on your part.

For those gardeners who live in areas that get frosts in the cooler months, winter care for lantanas is critical if you want to keep the plants alive. Lantanas need a frost free area to survive outdoors in winter.

Caring for Lantanas over Winter

Lantana overwintering is possible with potted plants. Lantana winter care for potted plants involves moving them inside before the first frost.

Lantana plants should go dormant in autumn and stay that way through spring. The first step toward winter care for lantanas is to cut back on water (to about ½ inch per week) and stop fertilizing the plants in late summer. Do this about six weeks before you expect the first frost of the year.

Position the lantana containers indoors in an unheated room or garage. Place them near a window that gets diffuse light. Part of winter care for lantanas is to turn the pot every week or so to let every side of the plant have some sunlight.

Once spring arrives and outdoor low temperatures do not dip below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12 C.), place the potted lantana outside again. Adjust its position to gradually increase the amount of sunlight the plant gets. Once the plant is outside, water it normally again. It should resume growth as the weather gets warmer.

Growing lantana flowers in the garden attracts butterflies and adds a pop of bright tropical color. Lantana are considered annuals through most of the United States but in some warmer climates in the southeast they may be classified as perennials. Lantana offers, not just beautiful flowers, but support for wildlife too.

How to Grow Lantanas

Lantana flowers go by many names. In the southern part of the United States, you may hear them referred to as “bacon and eggs” or “ham and eggs” for instance. One of the interesting characteristics of lantana flowers is the nearly fluorescent quality of the flowers. Many varieties contain different colored petals growing right next to each other, forming clusters that combine yellow, orange, pink and blue naturally. Others have solid colored flowers.

The flowers are lightly scented and grow profusely once the plant reaches maturity. They’ll continue to bloom in the garden throughout the summer and until the first frost. Lantana may be potted up and brought inside to winter as a houseplant, or simply replant new lantana outside, if you lose yours to frost and cold.

Plant Requirements

Lantana prefers rich, well drained soil although it will tolerate many different soil conditions. If your soil contains a high amount of clay or sand, add compost to improve the soil’s fertility. Always use well-aged compost or manure since fresh can burn tender plants.Plant lantana flowers in full sun or partial sun, making sure the plant receives at least six hours or more of direct, bright sunshine each day. It can tolerate a little shade in the afternoon but may not flower profusely in true partial shade.

Water lantana thoroughly and do not let plants dry out. If your soil is sandy, be sure to water lantana daily. A good top dressing around the plants with mulch retains water and suppresses weeds. Lantana that doesn’t receive enough water stops blooming or cuts back on its blooms. Plants that aren’t blooming usually signal the need for deeper and more frequently watering.

Lantana doesn’t require fertilizer, if you’re growing it for just one season and you’ve amended the garden soil with a good quality compost. You can add a balanced, gentle 20-20-20 fertilizer monthly, if desired. Don’t go overboard with the fertilizer; lantana is truly carefree, and too much fertilizer can also cut back on the plant’s blossoms.

Pests and Problems

Generally lantana is a hardy, easy care plant. The plant produces toxins in the leaves which make it unpalatable to deer, rabbits and mice, although they may nibble out of curiosity. Common insect pests that attack lantana are the lantana lace bug and mites. Lantana lace bugs are about a quarter to an eight of an inch long, gray, and have dark gray or black antennae. These bugs destroy blossoms and can also seriously damage foliage. Telltale signs include sightings of the bugs on the plants and foliage with bleach-like spots, as if you put blue jeans in the wash and they got bleach on them, large patches of white or light color on the dark leaves. To remove an infestation, use either insecticidal soap or horticultural oil, or a general insect spray. Read the label for directions on proper use, storage and disposal and to ensure the spray is compatible with lantana flowers.

Landscape Uses

Lantana flowers make excellent container plants and garden bedding plants. They’re traditionally planted in butterfly gardens. Lantana flowers attract swallowtail butterflies and many other species as well as hummingbirds. Plant lantana flowers in tubs, containers and window boxes, massing them with other tropical plants and flowers. Be sure to water containers daily.

Brighten Your Garden With Lantanas

With dozens and dozens of species to choose from, lantana flowers add a bright spot of color to the garden. They attract hummingbirds and butterflies and are very easy to grow. Visit your local garden center for the lantana flowers that grow well in your gardening zone.

No Flowers On Lantana Plants: Reasons Why A Lantana Won’t Bloom

Lantanas are amazingly reliable and beautiful members of the landscape, but sometimes they just won’t bloom. The delicate, clustered flowers of lantana attract butterflies and passersby alike, but when these sturdy, dependable bushes are more fizzle than sizzle, you may start searching for ways of making lantana bloom. No flowers on lantana have a number of causes, but by far the most common cause is planting them in the wrong spot. If your lantana won’t bloom, take a look at these reasons why a lantana does not flower.

Reasons for Lantana Not Blooming

Even though lantana is usually blooming when you buy it at the nursery, it may not continue to bloom once you plant it. This is a common problem of all shrubs after transplantation – all the manipulation of roots and change of scenery can cause a significant amount of shock that causes flowers and buds to drop shortly after planting. It’s a normal reaction that will clear up over time, but if an established lantana does not flower, you’ve probably got one of these problems on your hands:

  • Too Much Shade – Lantana needs full sun in order to bloom properly and that means at least six hours of full sun, eight or more is even better. When flowering plants like lantana are deprived of sunlight, they lack the energy to bloom.
  • Excess TLC – When plants have evolved in tough conditions like lantana has, too much care can give them the impression that they’re living the easy life and don’t need to worry about reproducing. Without a need to reproduce, lantana has no motivation to bloom, so lay off the deep waterings and heavy fertilizer.
  • Lace Bug Insects – Lantana plants are generally pretty pest resistant, but they can be bothered by lantana lace bug insects. These pests feed on the leaves, and their damage often resembles that of leafhoppers. It can stress the plants so much that they refuse to bloom. If everything else seems right, but your lantana still won’t bloom, look for tiny insects on the undersides of the leaves. You can kill them with insecticidal soap. Once your plants recover, they should bloom happily again.
  • Mysterious Green Pods – Check your plant carefully for small green pods. These are the young seeds of the lantana plant. Once the plant has begun forming seeds, it has no reason to continue blooming since it accomplished its sole mission in life. Cut off the pods to stimulate new flowering.

Flowering lantana draws butterflies — but little water

Big color, little water, lots of butterflies. How does that sound? That’s the story of lantana in a nutshell. But I’m famous for verbosely pontificating on the attributes of plants whenever I have an audience, so let’s dig deeper.

Lantana is a genus of flowering perennial plants consisting of around 150 species that are native to the tropical Americas and West Africa (another good botanical case for continental drift theories).

Most of the plants sold locally as lantana are either Lantana camara, Lantana montevidensis or hybrids of the two.

Lantana montevidensis, named because it is native to the hills surrounding Uruguay capital city of Montevideo, has a low growing, trailing or even vining habit that has earned its common name “Trailing Lantana”.

Lantana camara, on the other hand, tends to grow more upright.

The dome-shaped flower heads of both species consist of many individual tubular-shaped flowers with four petals each. A broad spectrum of hues and colors is represented in lantana, from white to pink to purple to orange to red. They often exhibit multi-colors within the same flower head, as the younger center flowers of the dome start out lighter and then richen as they mature.

The most common species in cultivation are Lantana camara cultivars such as the oh-so-hot orange and red “Radiation,” the tri-colored “Confetti” (yellow, pink and purple), and the super bright yellow “New Gold.”

The lower-growing, purple-flowering Lantana montevidensis has its own set of cultivars as well, including “White Lightnin” with brilliant white flowers, and the bright yellow spiller known simply as “Trailing Yellow.”

Lantana foliage has a distinct odor colorfully described as landing somewhere on the smell spectrum between fermenting citrus and gasoline. Its uses in garden design run the gamut from a fantastic colorful addition to a perennial border, serving as an eye catching climbing vine, or being employed en masse to cover hot, sunny, erosion-prone slopes.

During its evolution, lantana developed several drought-survival strategies, giving it the ability to endure dry times.

It has an extensive root system that can efficiently capture whatever moisture may be near it. It also creates its own insulating mulch layer via leaf drop. And finally, when times get really tough, it has the ability to go semi-dormant, losing its leaves and delaying flowering until wetter days return.

Lantana is considered an invasive exotic in many subtropical ecosystems from Hawaii and Australia to the Southeast United States.

But here in California, our lack of summer rain and relative low humidity prevents lantana and many other introduced ornamentals from running beyond the bounds of our gardens. So use it liberally here guilt free, but refrain from planting it at your Hawaiian beach house.

My favorite design trick with lantana is hiding something less than pretty with it. At my last garden in Martinez, I was lucky enough to inherit the neighborhood P.G. & E. in-ground transformer box parked right at the main entry walk to my front door.

In my never-ending pursuit of landscape beautification, I planted Purple Trailing Lantana on the perimeter of the box and let it spread across it completely, covering the box with its profusion of purple ball-like blooms. Problem solved.

Every so often, P.G. & E. crew members would need to access the box and would simply cut the plants back to the edges, but within a few months, my faithful lantana would cover the box, and beauty would prevail again.

It can also work wonders as a climbing vine, camouflaging such unsightly vertical elements as a chain-link fence or any other supporting structure in need of greening.

Lantana is commonly available just about anywhere plants are sold, but why pay good money for something you can get for free?

Simply find a parent plant with the flower color you like and cut off a stem that’s at least a quarter inch thick. Then lop off the top of the cutting so it’s 4 to 8 inches long. Remove all flowers and large leaves, allowing some of the smaller leaves to remain.

Stick your cutting into high quality potting soil, sand, perlite, vermiculite or any combination thereof, place in the shade where the sprinklers will hit it. Keep it constantly moist, but not saturated. Return in a couple of weeks and you will likely have a new plant ready for planting into the garden.

Take multiple cuttings, as there is always an attrition percentage.

Summer is best for propagating subtropical plants like lantana _ the more heat, the faster the rooting. This formula can be successfully employed for just about all woody plants (just don’t tell your local nurseryman that it was I who taught you how to make free plants).

And the biggest payoff for this plant? Butterflies, butterflies, butterflies.

From my experience, I don’t know of a plant that consistently attracts more butterflies than lantana. The seeds that follow the bloom will be much-welcomed food for local birds. And as a final bonus, beautiful black bumblebees also find the lantana party hard to pass by.

And finally, here’s a little trick for all of you fellas out there lookin’ for a lady. Decorating your nest with lantana blooms has worked wonders in the lady attracting department for several tropical weaverbirds. Apparently, a nest well-decorated with the colorful blooms is just too much for the females to resist. What a way to bust a move.

To this day, I strongly believe that my abundance of lantana plants adorning my garden was an inadvertent, but key factor in attracting my hottie wife.

Thanks, lantana!

(c) 2009, Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.).
Visit the Contra Costa Times on the Web at www.contracostatimes.com
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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How to get lantana to bloom?

Q. My lantanas bloomed beautifully for about two months, then shut down. Some of the leaves turned brown and shriveled up. I have them in full sun.

My bougainvillea, which I planted last summer, has not bloomed.

And my mock orange bloomed very little this spring.

— C.H., Wharton

A. Two pests that infest lantana and cause similar symptoms are lantana lacebug and spider mites.

Lacebugs feed on the undersides of the leaves, leaving black excrement specs. The feeding results in gray-blotched uppersides, and the foliage often turns completely brown, even white. The lacebugs, too, may feed on flower buds or blooms.

These pests prefer sunny spots, as do lantana plants, making them a prime target. Remove and destroy infested foliage. Discourage pests with blasts from your garden water hose and/or apply insecticidal soap. Make sure to hit both sides of the foliage with the water.

Spider mites cause chlorotic stipling on the upper surfaces of the leaves, and in worse cases you can see a fine webbing around the leaves. Try insecticidal soap or ask your nurseryman for a miticide. Some dust with sulfur to discourage the mites, but be extremely careful in applying this product to avoid getting it in your eyes and nose. You will need to reapply after rain.

“Why won’t my bougainvillea bloom” is perhaps the most frequently asked question among gardeners. The recent long rainy period has likely promoted an abundance of green growth on your bougainvillea. But those who are successful with these plants recommend the following:

•Grow bougainvilleas in large pots of quality potting medium enriched with compost. Bougainvilleas prefer their roots somewhat crowded. Those planted in the ground tend to grow — and grow — at the expense of blooms.

•Use a hibiscus fertilizer with a low middle number (phosphorus) and higher last number (potash).

•Water when the soil is dry to the touch.

•Prune long trailing stems back 20-30 inches to encourage more color — the flowers and bracts form on new wood.

•Plants will flower for weeks, then rest before blooming again.

Mock orange, or philadelphus, prefers an organically enriched, moist, well-draining soil and filtered sun. To encourage better blooms, prune immediately after flowering by trimming back outer stems that have flowered. Make each cut just above an outer facing bud or new shoot. The following year’s blooms will develop from these buds.

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Monday – June 30, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Shrubs
Title: Failure to bloom in hybrid lantana
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I live in Austin and have planted the newer lantana varieties which bloom with orange and pink flowers.They have been planted in full sun and get watered 2 times a week for about 15 minutes.They do not have berries either. I cannot get them to flower at all.They were planted in a very rocky landscape with a layer of new soil.Why do you think they are not flowering.?


There are a couple of native lantanas that grow in Texas: Lantana urticoides (West Indian shrubverbena), which blooms in orange and yellow, and Lantana achyranthifolia (brushland shrubverbena), which blooms in pink and white. Obviously, your plant is a hybridized Lantana camara, which has no one knows how many crosses in its parentage. We could accuse some sneaky non-blooming gene that slipped in during all that hybridizing, but that seems highly unlikely. Ordinarily, lantanas will bloom reliably for months at a time, attracting hummingbirds and butterflies. We found a great deal of information from a Clemson University Extension website, Lantana. You might compare this with the location of your plants, and from that, determine what is causing the non-blooming.

Newly planted lantanas will need to be kept moist for the first few weeks until the roots have spread into the surrounding soil. Poor blooming is usually caused by too much shade or excessive fertilization. Plants that set berries may decline in bloom. Trim plants back to encourage new growth and flowering

While established lantanas are drought tolerant, performance, bloom, and growth rate will be reduced if they are too dry for a long period. During their blooming period, give them a thorough watering once a week if they do not receive an inch of rain that week. Avoid overhead watering. Overly frequent overhead watering can make plant more susceptible to diseases and root rot. We’re not sure if 15 minutes twice a week is sufficient; if it is a sprinkler system, your lantanas are getting overhead watering that they do not tolerate well. It would be better to stick a hose in the root area and let water dribble in slowly until water appears on the surface once or twice a week.

Prune lantana periodically during summer by lightly shearing the tip growth to encourage repeat blooming. Plants that have become too large for their allotted space may be pruned back by up to a third of their height and spread. Water and lightly fertilize newly cut back plants and they will return to bloom quickly. Prune perennial lantanas back hard in late winter to remove old growth and prevent woodiness. Cut back to about 6 to 12 inches from ground level. Avoid hard pruning in fall as this can cause reduced cold hardiness.

Lantana requires little fertilizer, and certainly avoid high nitrogen fertilizers, which promote green leaves but not blooms. A light fertilization in spring will usually be sufficient. Vigorously growing plants may be fertilized again in mid summer, provided plants are not water stressed. Excessive fertilizer may reduce flowering and make plants more susceptible to disease.

Some cultivars produce small blue-black fleshy fruit. The fruit can be poisonous, especially if eaten in quantity. Fruiting can be avoided by growing sterile cultivars. Sterile cultivars which are available include ‘New Gold’, ‘Samantha’ (‘Lemon Swirl’), ‘Miss Huff’, ‘Mozelle’, ‘Patriot Deen Day Smith’, ‘Patriot Marc Cathey’, ‘Weeping Lavender’ and ‘Weeping White’. You may have one of these cultivars, which could very well explain the lack of berries on your plant.

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Q: We recently moved to a new home in Hemet and we planted yellow lantana. During this latest frost the plants have been frost bitten. Do we trim them now or leave them and wait until the weather is warmer?

A: Lantana can be an excellent source of garden color over most of the year. Many different colors and sizes are available, making them excellent candidates for locations from flower beds to background screens. They are very forgiving plants and will tolerate most soils, the summer sun of our warm inland valleys, and our occasional frosty winter temperatures.

The best time to prune or trim lantana is in early spring. I know it is tempting to cut them back now, especially if you are looking at dead leaves, but it’s too soon to distinguish dead twigs from those that are still alive. In addition, those frost-bitten leaves and twigs can provide the inner parts of the shrubs with some protection from cold and damaging winds that may still come this winter.

So, I suggest that you wait until all danger of frost is past before trimming your lantana shrubs. Once the weather begins to warm and you see new growth beginning to appear, it will be easy to determine the dead twigs from the live twigs. A light application of fertilizer after spring pruning will have you shrubs covered in new leaves and flowers in no time.

Q: I’d like to add several camellias to a shady area of my garden. When is the best time to plant them?

A: The best time to plant camellias is during their dormant period. Surprisingly, this dormant period coincides with the blooming period, so you can select your plants now, while they are flowering. This will allow you to select the flower forms and colors that you like best.

When planting your camellias, be sure you provide a rich, well-drained, slightly acid soil. Peat moss is an excellent soil additive to use, to provide some soil acidity and to improve your soil’s texture. When planting, don’t set the plants too deeply; the trunk should be above the soil line.

Keep the soil evenly moist and apply an acid-type fertilizer after flowering is completed.

With their shiny evergreen leaves and beautiful flowers, camellias are certainly one of the aristocrats of the garden.

They are long-lived plants so providing good care on a regular basis will ensure a lifetime of handsome shrubs and beautiful flowers.

Ottillia “Toots” Bier has been a master gardener since 1980. Send comments and questions to [email protected]

Lantana not Blooming – Knowledgebase Question

Without details on how the plant is cared for or where it’s growing it’s difficult to say. However, sun exposure and nutrient levels in the soil are typical problems for lack of flowering. Lantana needs full sun to bloom, but isn’t terribly fussy about nutrients if it’s growing in the ground. Diascia needs partial shade in desert climates, protection from afternoon sun.
If either plant is growing in a container, are you fertilizing regularly? Frequent watering will leach away nutrients, so they need to be reapplied. Here?s some basic info on fertilizer and nutrients that plants require. The 3 numbers on a fertilizer bag refer to the percentage of N (nitrogen), P (phosphorus), and K (potassium) in the bag. There are different formulations for different purposes. In general terms, nitrogen produces lush green growth, phosphorus helps strengthen stems and produce flowers, and potassium keeps the root system healthy. If you’re applying fertilizer to fruiting (e.g., tomatoes) or flowering plants, you’re not as interested in the plant developing leaves as you are in it flowers and fruit, so you’d use a formulation lower in nitrogen and higher in phosphorus, such as Miracle-Gro’s Plant Food at 15-30-15. Bone meal is an organic source of phosphorus.
How often to water depends on many factors including plant type and size, soil type, weather, and even your particular microclimate. Lantana in the ground is low water use groundcover. Water when the top inch or two of soil dries out. Water should soak to a depth of 12 inches. Annuals and perennials in the ground generally need more frequent watering, especially in summer. In a pot, they may need daily water. Hope this info helps!

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

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Saturday – October 06, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Lantanas failing to bloom, turning brown
Answered by: Barbara Medford

The lantana in my front yard does not bloom, is not overwatered but does get watered, leaves turned brown and plants generally have not grown. The lantana in the rest of the yard are in bloom and look great. I’m wondering what potential disease they might have. These plants have bloomed in the past but not the way they should. Any advice?

Lantana urticoides (West Indian shrubverbena) and Lantana camara (lantana) are the native forms that are most likely to be growing in this area. However, it is more likely that what you have in your garden is a commercially named cultivar, hybridized for bloom type or color. Hybridizing will often change the basic nature of the plant to the extent that it no longer has some of the qualities of the true native, such as resistance to disease or adaptability to poor soils. That is why we at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center urge the use of native plants in our landscaping.

However, we can tell you some of the problems that lantanas can encounter, and perhaps one of them will answer your question. Poor blooming in the lantana is usually due to too much shade or excessive fertilization. You live in the Austin area and have experienced the same cool, wet two months of the summer as we have, but if your other lantanas are blooming all right, the weather probably isn’t the problem. If, however, this particular plant is too shaded by a building or other plants, that could cause a number of different problems. Powdery mildew often occurs on lantanas grown in too much shade. If the plant is in an area poorly drained or watered too frequently it can develop root rot. Excessive fertilization may reduce flowering and make plants more susceptible to disease.

Now, how about varmints? Lantana lace bugs can cause leaves to appear stippled or to brown and drop. Sooty mold, causing a blackish discoloration on the leaves, is usually caused by an infestation of whiteflies.

If it turns out the location, shade, drainage, etc. are the causes of your plant’s woes, it probably should be removed. It wouldn’t be advisable to transplant it to some other location where mildew or insects might move to healthy plants. If you want to try to give it another chance where it is, and if there is enough sun there, remember that during the bloom period the lantana needs a thorough watering once a week if it hasn’t rained an inch or so that week. Try to avoid watering from overhead, as with a sprinkler, as this can also contribute to the mold problems. You might also try trimming it back as much as a third; water and fertilize the newly cut back plant and, hopefully, it will return to bloom quickly.

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