Tag Archives: lantana

Lovely Multi-Colored Lantana

Bridget's Lantana - bkl c@

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.

Frozen - mlm c@

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.

Lantana - mlm c @


Lavender - mlm c@

This lavender creeping type can be seen at Colony Plaza on Hwy. 466-A.

Yellow - mlm c@

One of my favorites. Note those gorgeous deep-green leaves.

Purple - mlm c @

Multi-Color - mlm c@

Multi-Colors AND Solids on One Plant. Pretty cool.



My Plants Survived the Freeze, But Some Did Better Than Others

Everyone around here knows we had a very hard freeze a few nights ago. Here in central Florida, a hard freeze is considered to be temperatures below 32 for four (4) hours or more. Our outdoor thermometer showed 25 degrees. This area sustained below-freezing temps for approximately eleven hours.

Probably the most important thing I can share with you is that, when you cover your plants overnight, be sure to remove coverings as soon after the sun gets on them as you possibly can.

Some of my plants surprised me by surviving the freeze. Some surprised me by succumbing to it. Some looked good the morning after the freeze, but about 36 hours later, showed extensive damage.  Here are some of them. Sob, sniff. All but one of these photos were taken in the 3 days following the hard freeze.

First, the Survivors:

Agave - MLM

Variegated Agave, and its Pups:  This was, by far, the biggest surprise. I ran out of coverings, and decided that some of the plants would simply have to tough it out that night. This variegated agave was one of them. Imagine my delight when, the morning after the freeze, it looked just as happy and healthy as ever. There are zillions of types of agave, so I have provided the Latin name  (Agave americana var. marginata) in case anyone wants this specific type. My agave plants (I have 2) have lots of pups already — 2 of the pups can be seen in this photo. If you live near me, and would like to have one or more, just let me know.

Common Geranium

This geranium was sheltered by the huge leaves of a split-leaf philodendron; otherwise, I suspect it would have bit the dust. The buds of the next cluster of flowers can be seen near the bottom of this photo, directly above my first name.

Geranium MLM 1








Gerbera Daisy

Gerbera Daisy - Red 2 MLM

This was another surprise. Even the tender little buds at the center of the photo survived the freeze. This one was moved to the front yard when we had a patio installed in the back. It looks a bit lonely. I believe I will get some more of these tough little plants in a variety of colors. They bloom year-round here, so they really brighten up my garden.


 These Next Plants Were Toast Immediately:   These I knew would be killed back (or almost back) to the ground. Fortunately, from past experience, I also knew they would grow back as soon as decent weather returned:

Impatient Toast MLM

New Guinea Impatiens

This is the only one of a group of impatiens (brand name, Sun-Patiens) that survived both the 2013-14 winter and the heat of the summer of 2014. Many of them survived that winter with some cold-damage, but I could see healthy new growth deep down under the damaged part. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of trimming off the damaged parts. A few weeks later, we had another freeze, and the now exposed tender new growth became damaged, too. I lost a few of those plants, then lost more of them that summer, but this one has hung on all this time. This year, I think I will wait longer about trimming off the damaged stems and leaves, so the new growth underneath will be protected. Here’s a photo of this same plant taken about a week before the freeze. What a difference a day makes!

SunPatiens - MLM1


 Banana Plant The Morning After the Freeze

Banana Plant - Frozen mlm

Even though I covered this small banana plant, it was still too cold for it. I will wait for it to recover, then move it to a large pot that I can take indoors on the few cold nights we have.

My dad and my uncle used to grow these in Alabama, so I knew I could grow them here. In Alabama, however, the growing season is not long enough. Most people left them in the ground, where they would die back each winter, and grow from the ground up each spring, so their’s never got very tall.  Dad got around that by digging up the plants in the fall, putting the root ball in large garbage bags, and keeping them in the basement until about April each year. They hold enough water, that there is no need to water them over the winter if kept in plastic bags as he did. Eventually, of course, his grew too large to be manageable, and he stopped growing them.

Banana Plant One Week Later:

As you can see below, my banana plant is already asserting itself. Soon I can clip off the old brown leaves. Right now, I will leave them to provide protection to the tender part underneath.

Banana Plant One Week Later mlm


A Delayed Reaction:  These next few photos are of plants that either looked good or showed only minimal damage that first morning, but by late the next day, showed considerable damage.

Split Leaf Philodendron

Philodendron - 2 days later mlm

This one looked great the morning after the freeze. The next day, not so much.



Lantana More 2 Days Post Freeze mlm

One day later, the lantana looked dead, except for a perfect green leaf here and there. See the one near the center of this photo? I can’t cut back the damaged “wood” of the lantana plants, because they are hollow. If there were to be another freeze, water and ice would get inside the stems, and the entire plant would be killed.

Lantana - pink & yellow mlm

Lantana in Better Days

If you live in areas where the lantana is killed back to the ground each winter, be sure to cut it back before the first freeze to a height of about 4 – 6 inches. Then mulch it very, very well, completely covering the plant. If you do this, it will come back in the spring.




Hibiscus - frozen MLM

This hibiscus showed very little damage the morning after the freeze, but began looking worse and worse as time passed. Fortunately, the tightest buds were undamaged, and have already opened to show off gorgeous flowers.



Spring is Already Teasing Us

After a high of 87 yesterday, we had a high this morning of 68, with temps falling all day today. We’re told normal temps of mid-seventies will return tomorrow.

What are Some Sun-Loving Flowers to Plant Here in Zone 9-A?

At a neighborhood gathering, Ginger T. described her problems with planting flowers in her new yard, saying that soon after being planted, they died. She wants bright, colorful flowers in her yard, and asked what to do, and what flowers will do well here.

Gerbera Daisy

Pink Gerbera - mlm c@

Gerbera Daisy, often mis-pronounced as “Gerber” Daisy, is one of my favorite perennials. It is available in many beautiful colors. I have them in red and yellow. This photo I took in the florist section of my local grocery store a few years ago. When we put our former home on the market, I blew this photo up to 8 x 10, framed it, and put it on the wall. Most of our paintings, and my artwork were already on the walls in our new home.

Tulip Ginger

Another perennial I recommend for this area (and not just because of my friend’s name) is a variety of ginger called Siam Tulip (Curcuma alismatifolia).  Below are some photos of those in my yard. This is NOT an edible type of the popular plant.

Ginger - Siam Tulip 2 MMP2

These beauties multiply like crazy, making them an excellent investment in your landscape. Last summer I bought 5 pots of these; there were 3 plants in each pot, which I planted without dividing. Now each of those has multiplied into clumps of about a dozen. This fall I plan to divide them and spread them across a larger area of my garden.

Ginger - Siam Tulip 1 MMP2

Recently, I needed a last minute centerpiece for a casual birthday dinner party. Last minute because I forgot to arrange for one. I cut some of these beautiful flowers and a few pieces of white vinca, put them into a small crystal bowl, and voila, a lovely centerpiece that drew lots of comments. That was on August 29, and that arrangement was still beautiful on September 3. The vinca still looks as if it had just been cut.

Ginger - Siam Tulip Bouquet


Another long-blooming and sun tolerant flower that I highly recommend is lantana, a member of the verbena family. It is drought-tolerant and comes in many colors, both solid and variegated.

Lantana is sold with flowers at garden centers everywhere, but I think of it as a flowering shrub. This is because it can grow to about 3-4 feet wide and about 2 feet tall, but mostly because its stems become woody.

This pink and yellow one grows in our front yard. In the backyard, I have a red-orange-yellow variety. As you can see, the leaves are a beautiful deep green that add depth and texture to the garden even when between blooming cycles.

Lantana - mlm c @

I snapped this photo of purple lantana at Colony Plaza shopping center recently. It will need a haircut soon. Unfortunately, the grounds crews rush by with gas-powered shears and chop it off into little box-shapes. This plant grows too large for some of the small spaces they have planted it around most of the shopping areas here.

Lantana - purple

If you live in Florida or any tropical area, be sure to get your lantana from a nursery or garden center, as Florida has a wild lantana that is very invasive. Lantana from a garden center is NOT invasive. Instead, it will grow into a spreading mound. Mine has grown from about 6 inches across to about 2 and 1/2 feet across, and about 18 inches high. If lantana spreads to cover an area larger than you want, it can be clipped back. Please resist the urge to shear it off all at once. Instead, clip individual stems, preferably at a joint. To maintain the natural appearance of the overall plant, clip some stems shorter than others.


Some annual bedding plants I recommended to Ginger were petunias, vinca (shown here), and marigolds, as these prefer full sun. These are normally thought of as annuals, but here in central Florida, petunias often survive our mild winters. My waxed begonias survived the winter here and even in North Carolina (Zone 7), but they did not survive the summer sun here. They need protection from harsh afternoon sun. Last summer mealybugs killed my hot pink vinca, so I don’t know whether it would have survived the winter or not. So far, this year, the vinca in the photo is still going strong. We’ll see how it “weathers” the winter.

Vinca - Hot Pink2 - mlm c @


One of many perennials that love the sun, but also do well in partial shade, is the daylily. Here are two of mine.

Orange Double - mlm c @

Yellow with Bud - mlm c@

Perennials are a bit more expensive but multiply each year.  My daylilies never completely died down here in Florida or in Alabama (Zone 7).  Because they multiply rapidly, daylilies, like most perennials, are a good investment, unlike most annuals which will need to be replaced year after year — unless they re-seed themselves, of course. As far north as Charoltte, North Carolina, my lantana had to be cut back each fall and heavily mulched, but it returned every spring. Here, it survived even our colder than average winter last season (2014-15).

The sun is intense, not only here in central Florida (Zone 9-A), but throughout the South. If you have no shade in your yard, or if the place where you want to put your flowers is in the sun,  it is best to plant those flowers in the late afternoon or even just before dark. This is because the planting process is traumatic for the plant. Planting them when the sun is not bearing down on them gives them time to adjust to their new home, and to recuperate overnight. They will need special attention and frequent watering until they become established. After that, water them only when they are not getting enough rain.