Before you grow lantana plants, you need to know what they are! We’re here to tell you everything you need to know…
What are Lantana Plants
Lantana plants are evergreen shrubs, although they’re often mistaken for vines due to the way they act and the fact that their branches resemble vines. The flowers on the other hand feature brightly coloured, round clusters. They’re available in a wide range of colours as yellow, red, pink, purple and orange flowers. You may even find that the colours may vary within each cluster.
Lantana plants are often grown in hanging pots with their branches and leaves spilling over the sides. The leaves have a citrus smell, while the fragrance of the flowers is somewhat off-putting.
Take note: A word of caution, these plants are often viewed as invasive, especially in areas that don’t experience frost. Before planting them, make sure you can keep them under control.
How to Grow Lantana
The colourful flowers of the lantana are a great addition to any garden and can make quite the statement. They’re often used as borders or to cover ground that may be open. The plants thrive in warm conditions and love the sunlight. They even tolerate salt spray, which makes them ideal for planting near the ocean. In colder climates, or during the winter months, lantanas are often planted in hanging baskets.
One of the elements that make this plant so unique is the fact that it can have different coloured petals on the same flower.
When to Plant Lantana
Lantanas can grow in any sunny location with well-draining soil. They’re usually planted in the spring once the last frost has passed and the cold has begun to subside. Once the area has warmed up, the plants will begin to grow.
Where to Plant Lantana
Lantanas thrive in full or partial sunlight and will need to be exposed to it for at least 6 hours a day. They can tolerate the shade but need to have some sunlight exposure.
How to Plant Lantana
When planting lantanas, the plants need to be kept around 30 centimetres apart from one another. Gaps between rows need to be around 35 centimetres wide to allow them to grow freely.
Very few varieties of lantana are available as seeds. However, that’s not a huge concern as it’s advisable to grow propagated, sterile plants to prevent them from spreading and becoming weeds.
The flowers will bloom in warm conditions, and in some cases, the colour of the flowers will change as they age. They can survive extreme heat as long as they have access to water. In the event that they’ve dried out, you can revive them with fertilizer and water.
Ideal growing conditions for lantana
- The plant needs to be in direct sunlight at least 6 hours a day
- While they can tolerate shady conditions, they prefer the sun
- They need to be planted in slightly acidic soil with proper drainage
- Ensure that the plant is properly watered and don’t let it dry out
- While the plant can survive temperatures of around -3°C, it prefers temperatures above 12°C
What to Plant with Lantana
Shrubs such as the “brilliancy” rock rose grow well with lantanas. Essentially, any shrub or plant able to tolerate the heat and poor soil should be able to grow in the same conditions.
Succulents and other hardy plants will also be a great addition to any lantana-filled space. Trees that thrive in the heat such as olive and orange trees are also options. Another plant to look at is vines, as lantana looks very similar.
How to Care For Lantana
The newly planted seedlings or plants will require frequent watering, but once established, will only need to be water once a week. In fact, they’ll be able to survive dry conditions without any trouble.
If you’re looking to give them extra nutrition you can give them a bit of fertiliser but be careful as too much will stop the plant from growing. Deadhead the plant to ensure reblooming in the next season.
Keep an eye out for mildew if you’ve planted the lantana in a shady spot. Root rot can become a problem if the soil is too wet. Whiteflies and other pests can also cause sooty mould.
Does the lantana come back every year?
Yes. Some varieties of the lantana are perennial and will return each spring as soon as the soil begins to warm up. In other cases, gardeners opt to replant them each season.
Do lantana plants repel mosquitoes?
Yes, research has found that lantana flowers repel mosquitos. When adding extracts of the flower to coconut oil, it provides almost 95% protection from mosquitoes for up to two hours, with no side effects.
Is Lantana plant poisonous to dogs?
Yes, the plant is toxic to both cats and dogs as it contains triterpenoids, which are liver toxins. Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea, depression, weakness, and in some cases, liver failure.
Do hummingbirds like lantana?
Yes, hummingbirds are attracted to the brightly coloured petals of the lantana flower, as well as bees and butterflies.
Is Lantana poisonous to touch?
Yes, the leaves of the lantana plant can cause skin irritation. The berries of the plant are also poisonous when ingested.
How long do lantana plants live?
Lantanas can last a long time and have been known to survive long into the autumn months.
Do you deadhead lantana plants?
Yes, you’ll need to deadhead lantanas to promote reblooming.
How do you keep lantana blooming?
Ensure the plant has sufficient water and prune away and dead plants. Deadheading will also encourage the plant to rebloom.
A Dangerous Beauty
The lantana flower may be beautiful, but it can be dangerous. Not only can it begin to grow uncontrollably and take over, but part of the plant is poisonous. When planting this flower, it’s important to exercise caution. They may not make great gifts, but they do look lovely in bloom.
Think of it as a lovely but lethal addition to your garden!