A must-have for summer color
By: Garden Gate staff
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Loved by butterflies and hummingbirds, lantana is drought-tolerant, deer-resistant and can take hot summer sun in stride. Plus, its flowers often open one color and mature to another shade or even two, so you get more interest and color from just one plant.
With all these great qualities, it’s no wonder lantana is a must-have for summer! Keep clicking for three ways you can feature this tough beauty in your garden.
Lantana spp. & hybrid
Type Tender shrub
Blooms White, pink, yellow, red, purple and bicolors
Light Full sun to part shade
Size 1 to 4 ft. tall, 1 to 3 ft. wide
Cold-hardy USDA zones 9 to 11
Heat-tolerant AHS zones 12 to 1
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Lantana spreads easily, quickly filling a bed. When planting, space plants two-thirds their mature width apart for the carpet look you see here. Trailing or spreading cultivars mesh together, covering area better than upright varieties. Spreading Landmark™ Citrus, at left, grows 15 to 20 inches tall and 18 to 24 inches wide.
In zones 9 to 11, lantana can be invasive. Birds eat the berries and spread seed in their deposits, so choose sterile cultivars, such as ‘New Gold’ or ‘Miss Huff’, if this is a concern.
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Count on lantana for color all summer, whether it’s a one-plant-wonder hanging basket or in a container combo with other plants. And while you may think of lantana’s blooms as hot-colored, there are plenty of cool colors and even pastels, like lavender and yellow South Beach™ Compact Purple Sky at left, to choose from.
This plant’s ability to survive hot, dry weather makes it great for pots. In fact, overwatering and overfertilizing can reduce blooms. So just water when the top inch of soil is dry, and only feed once a month with a general-purpose liquid fertilizer. Plant lantana with partners that also like full sun and can take drier conditions.
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Lantana is a perfect plant to prune into a standard, or topiary tree, for tabletop interest or a stunning 6-foot specimen. Upright or trailing lantanas, like the one at left, both work well for this, but look for bigger heights and spreads for taller topiaries.
Underplanting with low-growing, mounded shapes, such as the lilyturf (Liriope spicata) you see here, visually balances a tall topiary, especially when grown in a container.