Lantana Grow and Care Guide
The lantana is a tropical plant that is known for its versatility thriving in the most adverse conditions. This hardy perennial is native to the tropical regions of the Americas and Africa being used in many home garden designs as well as commercial landscaping projects.
Lantanas belong to the family Verbenaceae and go by the common names wild sage or button sage. The genus includes both herbaceous plants and shrubs growing to 0.5-2 m ( 1.6-6.6 ft) tall.
Lantanas are beautiful plants that produce small clusters of flower blooms, there are many varieties that will give your gardens and landscapes that color pop. The lantana which is an evergreen runs like a vine as it matures although it has been classified as a shrub.
This garden beauty will attract wildlife such as butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and other bird species withstanding the drought as well as salt sprays in coastal areas. Lantanas carry an aroma that is mild and pleasant although the fragrance may not appeal to some.
From my personal experience, I believe that this plant makes a great choice for your spring and summer gardens with its stunning multi-colors. In warmer climates, lantanas can be grown as a perennial but in colder climates as an annual. To successfully grow and care for the lantana plant continue reading to see how easy it is.
When growing lantanas install in an area that gets lots of sunlight.
The soil type should be soil that has good drainage because lantanas don’t like wet feet although they can tolerate poor soils. The soil ph should be slightly acid, the use of mulching with pine needles will help in making the adjustments.
When watering your lantanas give plenty of water and allow the soil to dry out a bit before giving another drink.
What I love about lantanas is they don’t need to be fertilized to encourage flower bloom but it’s still good to feed them with a balanced fertilizer.
Garden insect pests of lantanas
Keep an eye out for these garden insect pests.
- Lantana leaf blotch miner
- Spider Mites
- Lace Bugs
Aphids are tiny pear-shaped insects that are included in the family of the sucking insect pests, these insects will suck the plant’s fluids cause yellowing and leaf drop. Aphids are among the easiest of garden insect pests to control. A strong spray of water from your garden hose will knock them of garden plants eliminating them or the use of insecticidal soap will also help.
Mealybugs are tiny white insects that have the appearance of cotton, these garden insect pests remain in a fixed position on garden plants although if observed closely move very, very, slow especially when disturbed.
They also do damage as aphids with their feed, producing a sticky substance known as honeydew which is their waste that ants feed on. Honeydew will also cause mold to form know as sooty mold which will not only take away from the beauty of garden plants but will interfere with photosynthesis ( blocking out the sunlight) which enables plants to manufacture their foods. The use of insecticidal soap or horticultural oil will bring them under control.
Lantana leaf blotch miner
The adult fly is shiny, small, and black, this garden insect pest feeds inside of the lantana leaves, causing a trail of white blotch to appear. The larva is white-yellowish, control methods include the removal and proper disposal of infected plant parts and the use of pesticides which are labeled for control.
Spider are very tiny insects that are hard to detect, signs that your lantana has spider mites may include webbing on the plant, your lantanas may also take on a dusty appearance. A sure test to know if the culprits are spider mites is to hold a white sheet of paper under the stem and leaves, gently sake if spider mites are present you will see tiny specks moving around on that white sheet of paper. You may also feel them crawling on your hands, the use of insecticidal soap or horticultural will bring them under control.
Whiteflies are tiny white insects that dose damage as mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids. They are easy to notice gently shake the leaves and if the infestation is whiteflies they will quickly dislodge from your lantana but will quickly reattach to the plant just as fast. Neem oil or insecticidal soap has proven to be effective.
The eggs by the adult are laid on the underside of the plant’s leaves this is where feeding takes place. Feeding of these bugs will cause the top side of the infected leaves to develop white, yellow, or brown specks.
In server conditions, the leaves will turn yellow and brown followed by the leaf drop. Infected parts should be pruned and properly disposed of. The use of systemic pesticides such as acephate will bring control and elimination of these garden pests.
Diseases of lantanas
Keep a watch for diseases.
- Root Rot
- Botrytis Blight
- Powdery Mildew
Root rot occurs either because of overwatering or poor soil drainage. The soil should have good drainage along with being somewhat moist and not waterlogged or saturated.
Overhead irrigation is responsible for this disease, to prevent botrytis blight, water lantanas from the ground level during the morning hours which will give the plant time to dry if water makes contact with the leaves.
Symptoms of botrytis blight show up as the leaves developing brown spots that are wet followed by gray mold covering the leaves. Applying a fungicide that contains chlorothalonil will bring control.
Powdery mildew appears as a white powdery substance on the plant leaves and stems hence the name. This disease is brought on by full sun-loving plants that are grown in the shade along with plants that are crowded which encourages poor air circulation.
Pruning your lantanas
Lantanas in some cases can become invasive if not kept properly maintained. These plants have been known to reach heights of 5 ft or taller with the same width so keeping them well trimmed is a must to control their height, spread, the direction in which they grow along with helping them to maintain their natural form.
It is good to select prune on a regular basis which will promote a full-plant with more bloom but if you want a set time then spring is a good choice. Remove wood that is old and overgrown, wood that may be diseased and insect-infested may be removed at this time also. Lantanas which are overgrown can be prune back to about one foot.
In late winter to early spring prune back plant a foot from the ground. Giving your lantanas a balanced fertilizer along with sufficient water at this time will encourage flower bloom.
Ideas where to install lantanas
Here are just a few places to install lantanas.
1. Install lantanas as a border plant in a plant bed.
2. Plant alongside a garden path walkway.
3. Install lantanas in containers and place the containers on either side of your door entrances
4. Plant lantanas using the different color coordination around the trunk of your trees providing sufficient light can get to them.
5. Install around your pool area.
6. What about the area of your pond.
7. Install in containers and place the containers on your porch and patio.
8. Install lantanas alongside your fence and wall.
Growing lantanas from containers
When growing lantanas from containers the container should be large enough to accommodate your plants. The container should have drain holes to allow water to drain once the plant receives sufficient water.
The soil should be a good garden soil that will hold the right amount of moisture but will allow excess water to drain. Place the container in an area that gets lots of sunlight and treat for disease and garden insect pests as instructed.
Growing lantanas from hanging baskets
When growing lantanas from a basket follow the same example as growing from containers. The hanging basket should be mounted in an area that gets full sunlight.
1. When installing lantanas ensure that they are out of the reach of children, pets, and livestock because of being toxic if swallowed and can also irritate the skin.
2. When watering lantanas water from the ground or soil level to encourage a deep root system.
The final word
The use of lantanas in the garden and landscape will certainly give you the colors that will let you know that spring and summer are here. Easy to care for while attracting wildlife will have your spring and summer garden buzzing with activities which I think is pretty amazing so go ahead and install some you will be so happy that you did as your gardens and landscapes get that color pop.