Luscious® Grape lantana. Photo by Proven Winners.

For nonstop color throughout the growing season, nothing beats the performance of lantana. The cheerful flower clusters—in a rainbow of single and multi-hues—bloom nonstop from late spring through frost, and nearly year-round in warmer climates. Known for its carefree nature, lantana is grown as an annual in northern regions, and a broadleaf evergreen shrub or groundcover in frost-free climates. The flowers are especially attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies, and insect pollinators.

A member of the verbena family, it is native to tropical regions of the Americas and South Africa. Though there are 150 different species, those most widely available to home gardeners are Lantana camara and modern hybrids. Also known as Spanish flag, lantana thrives in hot, dry weather and is tolerant of salt and sandy soil, making it a popular choice for seaside landscapes. These same attributes are what allow it to become invasive in some areas.

On this page: Basics | Planting | Care | Choosing the Right Lantana | Pictures | Landscaping Tips

LANTANA BASICS

Zones:

Annual in Zones 1-8, perennial in Zones 9-11. Some varieties act as a tender perennial in Zones 7-8.

Height/Spread:

Lantana can reach 2 to 6 feet tall and 3 to 10 feet wide when grown as a perennial. In areas where treated as an annual, plants can reach 3 to 4 feet tall and 1 to 3 feet wide in a single growing season.

Exposure:

Full sun for at least 6 to 8 hours a day.

Bloom time:

Late spring through frost when treated as an annual; nearly year-round in frost-free regions.

Color and characteristics:

Flower clusters 1 to 2 inches across are solid, bicolored, or multi-hued, some changing as they age. Colors include yellow, orange, red, purple, white, coral, and peach. The rough textured foliage can get up to four inches long, green or variegated, with oval-shaped leaves that have toothed edges. When brushed up against, the leaves have a pungent, sage-like scent that is somewhat unpleasant. Non-sterile varieties produce small shiny berries after flowering, which start out green and turn to blue-black. Young annuals have fleshy stems, while older plants become woody.

Toxicity:

Lantana can be harmful to children, pets, and livestock. The leaves can cause brief skin irritation or a rash. Though all parts of the plant are poisonous, the berries are the most toxic, and can be fatal if ingested. Symptoms include upset stomach, labored breathing, and weakness. Consult poison control, a physician, or veterinarian immediately if you suspect your child or pet has been affected. See more Common Poisonous Plants for Dogs and Cats.

PLANTING INSTRUCTIONS

With so many colors in one plant, Luscious® Citrus Blend™ brings variation to a container even when planted alone. Photo by Proven Winners.

When to plant:

Lantana loves heat and will do best when planted in mid-late spring when all danger of frost is past, after the soil has warmed up.

Where to plant:

In a sunny site with fertile, well-draining soil that will stay evenly moist until plants are established.

How to plant:

In beds or borders, loosen soil and amend with compost. Remove plant from container and gently tease out roots if potbound. Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball and place so the top of the crown is level with the soil surface. Fill in the hole, tamp down soil around the base and water well. Spacing depends on the variety, and whether it’s treated as an annual or perennial. Mulch with coarse organic matter or gravel (keeping away from the crown of the plant) to suppress weeds and retain moisture. For containers, plant in high-quality potting soil and make sure the soil and pots drain well.

CARE AND MAINTENANCE

Pruning, deadheading and maintenance:

Where grown as a perennial, plants will become woody shrubs or groundcovers. In spring, cut out dead wood and prune back by a third to stimulate new growth. As an annual, lightly prune to shape as needed, or if it outgrows a space. Pinch stem tips to encourage branching and flower production. Deadhead to encourage new flowers and prevent berries from forming. In colder climates, plants can be overwintered indoors in a cool room or basement. In marginal regions, some varieties can overwinter in the ground. Mulch with several inches of fallen leaves or other organic matter to insulate the roots after plants die back in fall.

Soil:

Lantana is tolerant of most soil types, but prefers rich, well-draining soil that is slightly acidic. Mulch with pine needles to increase soil acidity.

Amendments & fertilizer:

It’s not necessary to fertilize established plants, but a light dose of all-purpose fertilizer can be applied in spring. Too much fertilizer can reduce the amount of flowers. When treated as an annual, apply a bloom booster fertilizer monthly according to package instructions. Containerized plants will need more frequent fertilizing, as nutrients leach out quickly.

Watering:

Water regularly until plants are established. Mature specimens prefer less water and are quite drought tolerant. Irrigate once or twice weekly in dry climates or extreme heat, especially if grown in containers.

Diseases and pests:

When planted in ideal conditions, lantana is relatively carefree. Too much shade, lack of air circulation, or high humidity can cause plants to develop powdery mildew or botrytis. Poor soil drainage can result in root rot. Insect problems include whiteflies, aphids, mites, mealybugs and lace bugs.

Deer resistance:

Because of the sandpapery texture and pungent scent of the leaves, deer will avoid lantana, though extreme conditions can result in deer grazing on plants they wouldn’t otherwise.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT LANTANA

For beds and borders:

Grow upright forms in a mixed border, or as hedging along a pathway. Use groundcover types to quickly fill in a bed.

For containers:

Plant smaller upright varieties as a stand-alone accent, or as filler in combination with other summer blooming annuals. Trailing types can be used in hanging baskets and window boxes.

For slopes and hillsides:

Use spreading types as a quick-growing groundcover and for erosion control.


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LANTANA VARIETIES

Swipe to view slides

Photo: Proven Winners

Luscious® GrapeBuy now from Proven Winners
L. montevidensis

Zones:

9-11

Height/Spread:

Spreading trailing habit, 10-14 inches tall, 18-24 inches wide, 36 inches long

Exposure:

Full sun

Bloom Time:

Spring through frost; year-round in frost-free regions

Color:

Flowers are lavender with a white center and yellow eye, green foliage

Known as weeping or trailing verbena, the low sprawling habit and vigorous growth makes this a good choice as a groundcover, massed along a slope, cascading over a rock wall, or in a hanging basket. Combine in a container with purple fountain grass and Supertunia® Limoncello® for a “thriller, filler, spiller” effect.

Photo by: Pleasant View / Proven Winners

Bandana® Lemon ZestBuy now from Proven Winners
L. camara

Zones:

9-11

Height/Spread:

Upright mounding habit, 12-26 inches tall and 12-24 inches wide

Exposure:

Full sun

Bloom Time:

Spring to frost; year-round in frost-free regions

Color:

Flowers with varying shades of yellow; green foliage.

Large flowers and upright uniform habit makes this a good choice for containers, as pathway edging, or along the front of a border. The Bandana® series includes a rainbow of colors.

Photo by: Proven Winners

Luscious® Bananarama™
L. camara

Zones:

9-11

Height/Spread:

Upright mounding habit, 20-30 inches tall and wide

Exposure:

Full sun

Bloom Time:

Spring through frost; year-round in frost-free regions

Color:

Bright yellow flowers, medium green foliage

The shrubby uniform habit makes this a good choice in a border, massed as a bedding plant, or as a stand-alone accent in a container.

Photo by: Gurcharan Singh / Shutterstock.com

‘Dallas Red’ (syn. ‘Texas Flame’)
L. camara

Zones:

8-11

Height/Spread:

Mounding habit, 15-20 inches tall and 18-24 inches wide when treated as an annual. Mature perennial shrubs can reach 3-4 feet tall and 3-5 feet wide.

Exposure:

Full sun

Bloom Time:

Spring through frost; year-round in frost-free regions

Color:

Flowers are red, orange and yellow; green foliage

Showy flowers come in a rainbow of hues, changing as they age. Mass in borders, along pathways, or use in containers in combination with other summer bloomers.

Photo by Tim Ludwig / Millette Photomedia

Confetti™ (syn. ‘Moni’)
L. camara

Zones:

9-11

Height/Spread:

Upright spreading habit, 1 1/2-2 feet tall and 3 feet wide as an annual; 2-3 feet tall and 6-8 feet wide as a perennial.

Exposure:

Full sun

Bloom Time:

Spring through frost; year-round in frost-free regions

Color:

Flowers are pink, with varying shades of orange, peach and yellow; green foliage

Use as a stand-alone accent in a container, massed in a bed or border, or as a focal point in the landscape.

Photo by: Tim Ludwig / Millette Photomedia

‘New Gold’
Lantana hybrid

Zones:

8-11

Height/Spread:

Mounding sprawling habit, 1-2 feet tall and 2-4 feet wide

Exposure:

Full sun

Bloom Time:

Spring through frost; year-round in frost-free regions

Color:

Butterscotch flowers, dark green foliage

The vigorous spreading habit makes this a good choice as a groundcover or massed as a bedding plant. Combine with annuals such as angelonia, zinnias, and petunias for months of continuous color. Plants can overwinter in marginal regions. Very similar to ‘Gold Mound’.

Photo by: Manfred Ruckszio / Shutterstock.com

Landmark™ Sunrise Rose (syn. ‘Balandrosim’)
L. camara

Zones:

9-11

Height/Spread:

Mounding spreading habit, 15-20 inches tall and 18-24 inches wide

Exposure:

Full sun

Bloom Time:

Spring through frost; year-round in frost-free regions

Color:

Outer flower clusters are deep pink, transitioning to peachy orange, with yellow florets in the center, the entire flower darkening as it ages; green foliage.

The small stature and spreading habit is useful in mass plantings, at the front of a border or in containers. Other colors in the Landmark™ series include yellow, gold, red, white and multi-hues.

Photo by: Proven Winners

‘Samantha’
L. camara

Zones:

8-11

Height/Spread:

Mounding spreading habit, up to 10-16 inches tall and 24-30 inches wide when grown as an annual; 2-4 feet tall and 4 feet wide as a mature perennial.

Exposure:

Full sun

Bloom Time:

Spring through frost; year-round in frost-free regions

Color:

Golden yellow flowers; green and creamy yellow variegated foliage

The unusual variegated foliage makes this a dazzling focal point in the landscape. Use as a stand-alone accent, in a container, along a border or pathway. In marginal regions, mulch after the first hard frost to overwinter.

Photo by: Keith Jessie Anne / Millette Photomedia

‘Miss Huff’
L. camara

Zones:

7-11

Height/Spread:

Upright spreading habit, 4-6 feet tall and 8-10 feet wide

Exposure:

Full sun

Bloom Time:

Spring through frost; year-round in frost-free regions

Color:

Flowers are pink, orange and yellow-orange, green foliage

The hardiest of all landscape lantanas, well-established plants are able to survive down to 0 degrees F for short durations. Plant annual specimens in containers, massed as a bedding plant, or as a stand-alone accent. As a perennial, use as hedging, midway in a mixed border, or as a foundation planting. In marginal Zones 7-8, mulch well after the first hard frost in fall and prune back to new emerging growth in spring.

Is lantana invasive?

There are some parts of the south including Florida and Texas, as well as Hawaii, where it is considered invasive. If you live in a frost-free region, check with your local nursery or extension service to see if it is considered invasive in your area. You can also plant newer sterile hybrid varieties that don’t produce seed.

Learn more: Where is this species invasive in the U.S.?

Lantana alternatives:

Perennial substitutes include Oso Easy® roses, hibiscus, hydrangea or sage.

LANDSCAPING TIPS

Luscious® Grape spills over the edge of a low wall.
Photo by Proven Winners.

There are many ways to incorporate lantana into your landscape. Here’s how:

  • Grow a trailing type at the edge of a stone wall and allow it to cascade over the edge for a waterfall of nonstop color.
  • Place a long window box along a deck or patio and plant with lantana to enjoy months of bright color up close.
  • Plant brightly colored ceramic pots with separate specimens of lantana, along with bold-foliaged plants such as ‘Tropicanna’ and ‘Pretoria’ canna lilies, elephant ears, and sweet potato vines. Group the pots together for a dazzling tropical effect.
  • Combine in a hanging basket with other butterfly and hummingbird-attracting plants such as ‘Vista Red’ salvia, nicotiana, and petunias. Hang on a shepherd’s hook so the basket can be moved to different parts of the yard for a fresh look.
  • Plant a butterfly garden near a patio or window where you can relax and enjoy these beautiful insects up close. Other butterfly attractors include butterfly bush, pentas, zinnias, lavender and phlox.
  • Use upright shrubby types as hedging along a pathway, at the edge of a border, or as a foundation planting.
  • In frost-free regions, groundcover lantana can be planted on a slope for long-term erosion control.

RELATED:
Colorful Plant Combinations for containers
Annual Flowers
How to Plant a Hummingbird Haven

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