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Facts About the Lantana Flower

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Beautiful lantana flowers.  Photo in public domain.

Beautiful lantana flowers. Photo in public domain.

Lantana, a Wonderful Flower

Several years ago, I planted Lantana for the first time, but I never realized how much I would come to love this wonderful flower. The most obvious reasons to plant and enjoy lantana include their beautiful and vibrant colors, and the ease of growing them. They last a long time, throughout the summer and into the fall months.

One of my all time favorite reasons for growing lantana is that they are an amazing butterfly magnet! Butterflies cannot seem to resist lantana, so much so that where you see lantana growing on a warm day, you will also see butterflies enjoying their nectar. That is a win win for me!

The native habitat for Lantana is in tropical and subtropical North and South America. They will grow on the margins of forests, and in disturbed sites. They can be very hardy. Once established, they can survive even intense heat.

One variety of lantana that I love

One variety of lantana that I love

Lantana, lighter colored

Lantana, lighter colored

Facts About the Lantana Flower

Lantana, or shrub verbena, grow as an evergreen or deciduous shrub. They do best in zones 9 and 10 or in Sunset's zones 12 & 13, and 15-22.

You can find many colors of this flower now more than ever. From pale colors to the more bold colors. The intensity of the colors can change as the flower matures as well. You will find the colors red, orange, yellow, pinks and purples even now.

They give off such beautiful little flowers and I just love them, as do the butterflies. Lantanas attract a wide range of butterflies.

Varieties and Cultivars

There is a kind of lantana that is more of a trailing variety. The trailing variety is called L. montevidensis. They make a good ground cover with more rosy/lilac colored flowers. You can find many cultivars of both kinds of lantana. The colors of the reds and orange balance and compliment the rich green of the leaves. I would definitely recommend them for gardeners everywhere, even beginner gardeners love these.

How to Plant Them

When initially planting your lantana, follow the directions closely. I also apply a liquid flower fertilizer in the summer sometimes, especially for my potted plants. The only down side I have with this flower, is the need to replant every year, because where I live they can't survive the winter.

How to Care for Them

They don't like frost, and will happily bloom until frost in many areas. In frost free areas, they can bloom all year if some care is taken.

Lantanas like bright and full sun, and thrive in almost any kind of soil which is a real plus for poor gardening sites. You can skip waterings, but when you do water, you will want to do so thoroughly. They have been known to become invasive in some climates, but I honestly cannot picture it myself. If they grew more fully in my garden, then I would love that.

One thing I have found to keep the blooms coming is to occasionally trim back the plant. When flowers fade, I do a form of dead heading the flowers, so they will produce more.

Lantana Flowers—Poll

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Paula


J arnett on August 12, 2020:

I would love to read your article but there are so many pop up ads bouncing all around it is impossible but I will try Lantana

Mary on July 19, 2020:

I live in zone 5 and I love lantana so I decided to see if I could save them over the winter. I set the pots in my garage that stays between 55 and 65 all winter. I watered them a couple times but I often would forget and they have set for a couple months without water. I assume they went dormant. I cut them back in the spring and set them out on warm sunny days. When the threat of frost is over I leave them out, by July they are full of beautiful blooms. I now have several and don"t have the expense every year for new plants.

Terry on July 10, 2020:

The fragrance is wonderful. Who would guess. They are my favorite and I grow all the varieties of colors every year for years.

Lydia on June 12, 2020:

Did you know, that the leafs very nice for a cup off tea?

Try itt.....

Kathleen on May 24, 2020:

Love my lantanas. The Only problem I’ve had is black spot. I use a drip system now. I cut them completely back in November and surround them with Iceland poppies. I keep them short until the poppies die then and they grow big and beautiful again.

sher khan on May 21, 2020:

i like lantana for its litchee fruit

from pakistan

Sarah Ouigue on May 01, 2020:

As I'm from Australia lantana is a noxious weed and prohibited to grow its wonerful experience to see these beautiful flowers here in LA

Vicki from Virginia on August 24, 2019:

They are also one of a very few deer resistant plants in my area. And we have small herds of 12 or so deer in our yard daily. They trim my succulents, iris, galardia, weigela, snowball bush etc., but never touch the lantana.

Tricia74 on July 16, 2019:

This will sadden you, but i cut about 50ft. of lantana down and painted the stumps with stump killer. They are beautiful, but they were old and huge. I had to cut them back every year and they work has been overwhelming. I would recommend them, but pruning is a must. I live in Augusta, Ga.

pat engle on July 06, 2019:

i have raised perrinneal bushes that lasted through snow, frost, ect. Do you have them

Sharon on June 24, 2019:

I have a couple of lantanas in pots on the front porch. Several times a day they are visited by hummingbirds. No other flowers have brought hummingbirds to our house before.

Lula holcombe on June 02, 2019:

Lantana are considered an invasive alien plant in South Africa. It is very difficult to iradicate. The birds drop the seeds in their droppings and it takes over on farmlands, which destroys pasture lands.

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on May 17, 2018:

Hello Mary, that sounds like a lovely way to grow and enjoy the Lantana flower. I am not sure of its benefits in helping with steeper slopes, as I don't have experience with that. It does sound like you have had some very happy and healthy lantana plants growing though! How very nice. I can picture the slopes now, covered in Lantana. Thank you for sharing, and I would love to know how that goes for you. Paula

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on May 17, 2018:

Hello Lenae, it is hard to know for sure what the problem might be, but I can say that I have had the same thing happen. I know that I love lantana enough that I want it to be healthy and vibrant for the butterflies and for my garden, that I tend to replace it when that happens to me. I hope that you continue to enjoy lantana flowers in your garden one way or the other. Paula

Mary on May 15, 2018:

I've grown lantana in Texas new Mexico and Arizona. Now I found them in Alabama and just planted them. We have some pretty steep slopes in our new house and I'm planting them 3-4' apart as in my experience they can grow together and make a sort of ground cover hedge. If I didn't transfer then they have grown as much as 3' high. I'm hoping the ones I found will do the same here. My Aunt in Texas used to cut hers way back for the winter and they always came back in the spring after the ice and snow was done.

Lenae Stenerodden on March 10, 2018:

Hi I've had a Lantana for many years and was just beginning to wonder if it's at its peak and finally time to replace it I live in the Phoenix Arizona area and I think we've had this Lantana 20 to 25 years the pink yellow orange one and that's come up beautifully every year as long as I use Miracle Grow on it fairly often but this is the first year it hasn't come back as good possibly an age thing or it might have gotten too cold some nights this year

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on October 18, 2017:

Karla, so sorry to hear that.

Karla on October 17, 2017:

I had an allergic skin reaction to this plant.

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on June 22, 2017:

Thank you for sharing that, Nancy! I had no idea it grew so wild in India. Do you see butterflies on them often? Also, I didn't know you could eat the small black berries that grow on them! I learned something new today. Thanks for your visit and comment.

Nancy Jose Kumar on June 22, 2017:


Your article caught my eye because I was quite surprised to know that the Lantana is considered as a preferred garden plant.

In India it grows wild, on the roadside and vacant plots of land in almost all the states. It is considered a pest and a very invasive one.

Such a hardy plant, it survives with zero watering. Roots go really deep. The ones that grow uncared for really thrive. You can see them in bloom almost through out the year.

And as kids we used to pluck the black small berries which grew on them to eat.

Come to India. You can get all the Lantanas you want!

Brenda on June 16, 2017:

Does any one know if honey bees find the lantana plant beneficial?

erika on June 11, 2017:

At my zone 7 home, lantana are perennial. I simply cut at an angle about 3 inches above the ground and mulch heavily in the late fall.

Some of the plants are almost 3 feet tall now! I especially love the solid yellow ones. Very bright shade of yellow. I combine tall zinnias in mixed colors with my lantana. I just plant all in the lantana, so that the zinnias will bloom up through the lantana. This is very close to the front porch, so we can enjoy the butterfly show! They really love the lantana and the zinnia, so perfect planted together. And as a bonus, the zinnia will self-seed and I have more than ever this year. Such a pretty, low maintenance butterfly border!!

Ann on June 03, 2017:

I have been planting Lantana for over 40 years I have collected a number of different colors i have them planted in huge pots in the ground along the fence and they grow just because you can't go wrong with this plant in live in zone 9 they die back in the winter but come right back in the spring

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on November 13, 2016:

Linda, I wish I could give a suggestion for a particular variety for your conditions. In my experience, my lantanas have behaved very much like one another. I am not sure it is critical to pick one over another variety. As long as you like the colors, and keep it trimmed back to the size you like, it should perform fine as long as there is enough sunlight there. Your idea sounds so nice!

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on November 13, 2016:

Kathy, I appreciate you sharing your experience of storing your lantana over the winter with lights and a timer. How great that it lasted the three years it did. I wish it would have lasted longer for you. This goes to show what a hardy plant it is I think.

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on November 13, 2016:

Hello Anita, to be completely honest, I just trim the flowers back and don't pay too much attention to the part of the stem. I have found that if the plant is happy in its location, that they are pretty hardy. You can trim them back as long as you do a clean clip past where the flower bloomed. This is based on my own experience, and I don't claim to be a horticulturist. I hope that my experience may help!

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on November 13, 2016:

Hello Peggie, when I grow my lantanas, I make sure to trim them back as the flowers fade, and sometimes give them a bit of flower food which I put into my watering can. You can buy it at any garden center. If the soil gets too depleted of nutrients, the flowering isn't as good. Another thing is that they love sunlight. Hope this helps with your lantanas.

Linda j on November 04, 2016:

Which variety best for rock planter next to sidewalk entry. It's about three feet from the ground. Need to keep it no more than 20 inches tall.

Kathy on August 30, 2016:

I live in southern Indiana, and have grown Lantana. When fall came I dug it up put it in a pot and stored it in a protective spot in my garage with lights on a timer. The next spring I planted it again, and it grew big with hardy stalks. It lived for 3 y ears doing this, and the last year it was thick and a bush. The 3 year was a exceptionally cold winter. It didn't make it.

anita trudo on July 27, 2016:

I love my red, yellow variety and bought it late (July) this yr. since I couldn't find it earlier - What sometimes happens is i don't get any new flowers after the first - And I am not sure what part of the stem to clip to get more growth - any help is appreciated. Thanks.

peggie on June 24, 2016:

My Lantana are as health and green as can be BUT they have only a few flowers. What can I do to encourage flowering?

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on March 03, 2014:

Hello Ischropp, my apologies for not seeing this and responding sooner. It is hard to know sometimes what causes the leaves to curl for sure. Some people apply more water, thinking they are drying out but that is likely not the case. Sometimes it can be a deficiency like calcium or maybe potassium. I know for me, I have a place I can take the leaves of my plants and ask questions, and they can help. They are people that volunteer in a botanical garden, but sometimes knowledgeable people at garden centers can help as well. It wouldn't hurt to take a couple leaves from a piece of stem you cut off, and show them.

When I plant a new plant, I try to incorporate some good soil into the area, to help avoid deficiencies, and then often water with an added nutrient. Especially during the seasons when a lot of blooms are being produced. Potted plants are limited for where to send their roots for further nutrients, and repotting with some good soil can help, or diluted liquid plant food can help for blooming plants. I hope this helps. I love the variety you are speaking of, very bright and cheerful and beautiful.

ischropp2 on July 07, 2013:

I too am enjoying by Lantana for the first time this year. It is the orange, yellow, red variety and it seems to thrive quite well potted on my sunny Kansas City deck. I do have a question though, lately I've noticed that the leaves are curling. Do you know what might cause this? Thanks for any help you can give.

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on May 17, 2011:

Esmeowl, I have the same issues as you do, but love Lantanas all the same. Its worth planting them though to me, as they bring butterflies! I am still needing to get plants this year, my husband made up a gift certificate for me to go out and get gardening plants for this year! :)(on my birthday, I thought that was so sweet.)

Cindy A Johnson from Sevierville, TN on April 17, 2011:

I love lantanas. Can't wait to buy my plants this year. My only complaint is that I wish they were perennials here where I live but it gets too cold in winter! Thanks for an informative hub.

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on January 06, 2011:

Sally, I agree its a nice plant and really takes off once established. I am sure many people that couldn't normally grow flowers well could still grow lantana well. Thank you for the kind words about my hubname!

Truckstop Sally on January 06, 2011:

I have had lots of luck with lantana -- very hearty plant! I highly recommend -- with any color thumb! Love your hubname! Love ocean sunsets!

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on October 10, 2010:

Nifty, thank you! Yes, you are right too about encouraging pollination. If we plant things that attract pollinators, it helps the whole cycle.

Paula (author) from The Midwest, USA on October 10, 2010:

Samsons, and Phoenix, thank you very much.

nifty@50 on October 10, 2010:

Planting flowers that attract butterflies and bees, help pollinate vegetable and fruit plants planted near by. Beautiful hub!

PhoenixV from USA on October 10, 2010:

wow excellent photos

Sam from Tennessee on October 10, 2010:

up & beautiful! well written informative hub, beautiful pictures...