Last night I received a text message from my cousin. She had attached two photos of lantana. This is one of them. Her message read, “These two flowers grew on what I thought was a weed! They are about 2″ wide. I love them. Do you know what they are?”
Of course I knew. I have a yard full of this easy-to-grow plant. I especially love its variety of colors, and the fact that it is drought-tolerant. Of course, that hasn’t been an issue around here this summer. Usually, drought-tolerant plants suffer with too much rain, but lantana seems to keep on going, no matter what.
Lantana is usually a mounding plant. Some types, though, are more vining, although they don’t climb (see the lavender/purple one below). Here in Florida, there is also a wild type of lantana that is extremely invasive. Stay away from that one. The only color wild lantana I have seen is an orange-red. It can be seen growing on the roadside. It will climb fences, power poles, and anything else it can find. If it gets into your yard, rip it out.
More Lantana Photos, But First a Warning
If you live north of Zone 8, however, you will need to cut it back before cold weather arrives, and mulch it heavily. This is what happened to mine after eleven hours below 32 degrees Farenheit in February, 2015. It bounced back quickly, but if it had to endure a whole winter of those conditions, it would have been toast.
Cutting lantana back and mulching before the first freeze is helpful because its stems are hollow. If it is cut back a few weeks before the first freeze is expected, it has time to seal off the opening created by the cut. If it is cut back too late in the season, cold air can enter the hollow stems, and get into the base of the plant. If this happens, it will likely die. When living in the Charlotte, NC, area, I cut mine back & added about 4 inches of pine needles in mid-to-late October. It was usually late November before the first extremely cold weather arrived.
More Lantana Photos
Lantana comes with multi-colored flowers as shown above and here. It is also available in solid colors (shown below). It even grows with both solid colors and multi-colored flowers on the same plant. Lantana is one of many sun-loving flowers that will add beauty to your yard and garden.