Lantana – what kind of plant is it, and where does it come from?
Common lantana (Lantana Camara) is a beautiful plant from the verbenaceae family. It grows in its natural state mostly in South America. As it turns out, it has spread over time, and can be encountered in Central America and Caribbean as well. Interestingly enough, the plant is popular in the whole world as a garden plant – it’s particularly famous in Europe.
As for the appearance of lantana, it differs depending on whether it grows in its natural habitat or as a part of a yard landscape. In the former form, lantana occurs as a bush growing up to 3 meters (ca. 10 ft) tall. Garden varieties are much smaller, as their height doesn’t exceed 1 meter (3.28 ft).
The leaves of a lantana are as unique as the plant itself. Their shape is oval, and small spikes appear in certain places – they are barely discernible.
The blooming season of lantanas takes place in spring and summer. If the weather conditions are good, flowers appear at the end of April and may last until the end of August. Their shapes depend on the variety, and the color changes from yellow to orange, and finally to red.
Lantana is a poisonous plant. Make sure to be careful when planting and taking care of it. The entire plant poses a threat – not only stems and leaves, but also flowers.
Lantana – popular varieties
Many varieties of lantana are popular in the world. As estimated, there might be over 100 of lantana cultivars. Some are more widespread than others. Common lantana is the most popular. It also has several sub-varieties, such as:
- Tutti Frutti – this variety has different colors within a single flower cluster,
- Profesor Raoux – this variety is red,
- White Sun – it’s a lantana cultivar with white flowers,
- Goldsonne – this cultivar has yellow flowers.
Common lantana – best location and soil
Lantana is quite demanding about its growing conditions. It feels best in bright locations with broad access to sunlight. The plant is quite fragile, so make sure the spot is shielded from the wind. Thanks to this, lantana’s stems won’t get broken.
As for the soil, it should be rich. If there are no natural sources of nutrients, a fertilizer is a good option. The soil also has to be permeable and always moderately moist.
Does lantana need watering?
Watering lantana, and the frequency, depend on the soil’s state. Usually, the plant should be watered regularly every few days. But make sure to control the soil. If the upper layer is already slightly dry, it means it needs some moisture.
The plant doesn’t tolerate droughts, but an overwatered lantana with standing water is much more vulnerable to various diseases.
How to fertilize lantana plants?
Unlike many other garden perennials, lantana requires a lot of nutrients. It means fertilizing is one of the most important aspects of its care.
Are you wondering which product is the most suitable for this plant? Various types of plant food designed for blooming plants make an excellent option.
Does lantana need pruning?
Pruning is a very significant aspect of lantana care. Unfortunately, few people – especially beginner gardeners – know about this. In fact, without trimming, the plant’s blooming might get seriously hindered. It’s because new flower clusters usually appear on young stems. That’s why it’s so essential to cut them in early spring – even as early as March, before the plant begins its main growth period.
Lantana - overwintering
Lantana is not too resistant to low temperatures, so it’s important to secure it well for winter. Digging it out of its bed and moving to a utility room where the temperatures stay around 7-10°C (44.6-50°F) is the best option. This way, you can put the plant in a so-called dormant state. It’s a crucial for lantana to regenerate before it can grow again in the garden.
Lantana in a pot – an alternative cultivation method
Growing a lantana in a pot is not a problem at all, and in fact many people decide on this alternative cultivation method. It’s much more convenient, as the plant can be easily protected from winter conditions. But keep in mind that a lantana in a pot needs enough space to grow. Make sure to pick an adequate container, so the plant can grow freely.
How to propagate lantanas?
Lantana can be propagated during particular months. Gardeners who want the plant to take root easily, should keep this in mind. As estimated, one can propagate lantanas between February and March, and then at the end of June or the beginning of July.
- Early spring propagation of lantana involves lignified cuttings, and is much more difficult to achieve.
- Summer propagation uses green cuttings that need to be rooted – it’s easy even for beginner gardeners.
📍 Lantana - how to grow this plant?
Lantana is not complicated to grow. Regardless, the plant is quite demanding. A good location is essential – it should be sunny and protected from the wind. The soil for lantana plants has to be fertile and loose. If it lacks nutrients, one should fertilize it. The plant also has to be pruned before it begins its intense growth stage.
📍 Where to buy a lantana?
Lantana is an exotic plant. Although it has been gaining a lot of popularity recently, it's not as common as other plants. It can be purchased in plant nurseries and garden stores. Online stores are also worth checking.
📍 How to care for a lantana?
Lantana care mostly involves making sure it has proper growing conditions. The soil has to be fertile and moderately moist. Depending on the individual circumstances, the plant has to be watered regularly. Feed the plant during its blooming season, and prune its stems once per year.
📍 How to overwinter a lantana?
Lantana is an exotic plant, and it's vulnerable to low temperatures, so wintering it is not the easiest task. It shouldn't be left in the ground over winter in cold hardiness zones. You can dig it out and move to a spot where it can go dormant. The temperature in the room can't get lower than 5°C.