Plants

Lantana

Lantana camara

Eva Monning Eva Monning

Color-changing: The colorful play of the small lantana flowers makes the balcony and terrace shine in ever new nuances.

Growth type
  • Small shrub
Growth height (from)
from 1.00cm to 2.00cm
Growth width (from)
from 0.00cm to 0.00cm
Growth characteristics
  • overhanging
Flower color
  • yellow
  • orange
  • red
  • pink
  • white
  • multicolored
Flowering time (month)
  • May to October
Flower shape
  • Bundles
  • tubular
Leaf color
  • green
page format
  • ovate
  • sawn
Sheet properties
  • wintergreen
Light
  • sunny
Soil type
  • sandy to loamy
Soil Moisture
  • fresh
ph value
  • weakly acidic
Lime compatibility
  • lime-tolerant
Nutrient requirements
  • nutrient-rich
Humus
  • rich in humus
Decorative or utility value
  • Flower Decoration
  • Nectar or pollen plant
Toxicity
  • toxic
Use
  • Flowerbeds
  • high-stem
  • Interior greening
  • Planters
  • Winter garden
Garden style
  • Flower garden
  • Roof Garden
  • patio
  • Pot garden

Origin

Lantana is a tropical beauty from America and belongs to the Verbenaceae family. The examples available as potted plants in this country are cultivated breeds (camara hybrids) of the wild species Lantana camara. The ornamental plant is anything but shy in the humid areas of South Africa and Australia: Here, it is so widespread in the meadows and forests that it is partly forbidden as an ornamental plant. This risk isn’t a factor in our climate - the potted beauty is therefore free to transform our summer patios into colorful flower oases as we wish.

Growth

Lantana grows naturally as a bush with overhanging, bristly branches. However, as the tropical bush is not winter-hardy, it’s generally available as a standard or balcony flower in this country.

Standard lantana

Lantana are often available as standards

Leaves

Lanatana has dark green, oval leaves with serrated margins positioned opposite one another. The leaves are lined and hairy and feel a little rough - the plant leaf structure is particularly well adapted to the summer dry periods.

Flowers

The name has become associated with flowering colors. The tubular flowers with their semi-spherical heads appear from May to October and change color after blossoming, for example, from orange to yellow or carmine red. Lantana are available in white and pink colored varieties. If you would prefer to take home a colorful potpourri of many vibrant summer colors with your plant purchase, you’ll find the purest pleasure with the lantana - the inflorescences of this popular container plant ensure a continuously changing spectacle. The buds always open from the outside inwards, so the final buds in the center of the inflorescence might be blooming in yellow, while the other flowers towards the outer edge are an ever more intense orange with increasing age, for example. However, there are also varieties where the color shift is only slightly pronounced and they almost appear single-colored.

Fruit

Despite all their beauty, you should take care as all parts of the plant are poisonous. If you do not remove the deadheads, first green and then black, shiny, spherical stone fruit appears that is extremely poisonous both when it is ripe and unripe. But some birds can tolerate the berries without problems and thereby ensure the seeds are spread.

Lantana black berries

Fingers off! The black berries of the lantana look like edible fruit, but they are poisonous

Location and Substrate

A sunny location is the most important thing for easy-care balcony and patio plants. The beauty from the tropics of central America only unfolds its full flowerage in the sun. Cool weather phases in the summer lead to a growth halt. The plant only continues to grow and flower when the sun reappears making the temperatures climb. So lantana are particularly fond of long, hot summers, when they also flower with particular abundance. Good potting soil is an adequate substrate for the flowering bush. Excess water should be able to run off.

Care

Lantana not only attract our attention from May to September, they also draw in bees and butterflies. As Lantana are not particularly winter-hardy, in colder climates it’s best to plant them in a pot. These can happily be a little large - the more soil available to the plant, the less frequently it will require watering. The container plants are repotted up to every three years, depending on their age, in March - towards the end of the overwintering phase. Lantana do tolerate drought, however a lack of water means the flowers quickly wither. So you should not allow the soil to dry out. In order for the plant to develop its full flowerage, you should also provide plenty of fertilizer - either weekly with a liquid fertilizer or with a long-term fertilizer mixed with the soil at the start of the season.

Watering Lantana

Lantana are easy-care balcony flowers

Pruning

In addition to the long-shooted, vigorous growing varieties, lantana varieties that remain small are increasingly available in trade shops; these hardly require any pruning - they are mostly only cultivated for one season in window boxes. Plants bought in May often do not require pruning over the summer. With one exception: Maintenance pruning for standards. Removing the deadheads promotes the formation of new flowers. When the new shoots begin to emerge in March/April, the shoots of the overwintered lantana are shortened to a length between 3.94 and 5.91 inches so that the form strong young shoots, as old shoots are lazy bloomers. Now the standard plant’s crown should be heavily pruned to bring it into shape. Use sharp secateurs for pruning as the shoots become woody. Lantana generally tolerate pruning very well and are vigorous growers.

Overwintering

As with most heat-loving exotics, the container plants should not spend the cold time of year outside, rather in a frost-free winter residence. Lantana are best overwintered in a light airy space at around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The plants drop their leaves depending on the light and temperature relationships. If you do not have a bright spot for overwintering, lantana can also be overwintered in the dark at a pinch. In this case, the crown should already be pruned by a half in the fall. In a dark winter residence the temperature should be between 41 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Prevent temperature fluctuations as these belabor lantana. Whether in a light or a dark winter residence - the soil should never fully dry out during the winter days, but it should primarily not be too wet. Lantana should be given more water again as early as possible in the year (February) and placed somewhere warmer. The later the plants are encouraged to shoot in the spring, the later they will flower in the summer.

Latana camara

With its fascinating color display, the summer bloomer ensures almost daily surprises

Propagation

Lantana can be particularly easily propagated with cuttings. For this, cut a 3.91 inch long shoot end just under a leaf node in the spring and remove the lower leaves. Dab the cut point with rooting powder to ensure it forms new roots as quickly as possible. Then push it into a small pot with potting soil and water lightly. A transparent film hood will keep the cutting moist. When it has formed roots and new shoots, move the young plant to a bigger pot. Trimming the shoot tips stimulates branching. If you want to grow a standard, you should leave the main shoot unpruned until it has reached the desired crown height.

Varieties

Vigorous growing varieties with long shoots are increasingly being replaced by compact breeds that remain small. These are best combined with other potted flowers. The more unusual the color display, the more popular the variety. ‘Bandana Pink’ branches out very well, has compact growth and a dark green foliage. The two-toned flowers of the Bandana series are considered the most popular on the market. ‘Calippo Gold’ is vibrant with single-colored chrome-yellow flowers and is enchanting with its upright, bushy growth. ‘Esperanta Pink’ adorns itself with flowers in an astounding color combination. The Esperanta series is characterized by long flowering periods and reduced seed formation. ‘Tropic Lantanas Tukan’ is a particular eye-catcher with its white and yellow flowers.

The Tropic Lantana series is considered a very early bloomer. ‘Esperanta Compact Red’ is a compact growing new plant with vibrant red and yellow flowers. ‘Esperanta Lemon’ is luminous right from the start of the season with light yellow flowers. ‘Calippo Tutti Frutti’ is a transformation artist in orange, yellow, purple, and pink. ‘Lantropics Yellow Cream’ is a new-comer with beautiful wide leaves and creme and yellow flowers. ‘Tropic Lantanas Flamingo’ ensures a tropical flower summer with early flowers. The two-tone variety ‘Cherry Improved’ (Lantana camara, Bandana series) presents large flowers.

Lantana bees
The tiny colorful flowers are incredibly popular with bees and butterflies

Diseases and Pests

An infestation of spider mites and gray mold are a particular threat in its winter residence. The higher the overwintering temperature, the greater the risk of pests and disease. Also check the under side of lantana leaves regularly for whitefly. There may be aphids in the summer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does lantana look like?

Lantana grows naturally as a bush. It is generally available in this country as a balcony flower or standard. Some languages refer to them as ‘changing roses’, and this describes them perfectly: The tiny semi-spherical flower heads change their color after flowering. 

How do you care for lantana?

Lantana should be watered in such a way that the soil never fully dries out. The more space the plant has in the container, the less it will require watering. Lantana should be repotted every one to three years, depending on the age. Furthermore, the container plant should regularly be given a liquid or long-term fertilizer. If you want to promote the new formation of flowers you should dead-head regularly.

How do I prune lantana?

Prune back the shoots of overwintered lantana to a length of 3.94 to 5.91 inches in April/May. This will help it to form strong new shoots and the plants won’t become lazy bloomers. The crowns of standards can be brought into shape with pruning.

When should lantana be brought inside?

As lantana are originally native to tropical central America, the container plant should be brought inside before the first night frost.

How do I overwinter lantana?

Lantana are best overwintered in a light location between 50 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit. If you do not have a light room available, lantana can also be overwintered in the dark at a consistent 41 degrees Fahrenheit. In this case, the crown must be pruned back by at least half before overwintering.

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