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Habit: evergreen shrub
Origin: tropical Americas, Africa
Poisonous: all parts
Exposure: full sun
Water: moderate
USDA Zones:
Sunset Zones: 8-10, 12-30*
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Popular garden plant due to the long bloom season, which is year-round in frost-free climates. Light frosts just kill some of the tender growth, while heavy freezes (*Sunset zones 8-10, 14, 29, 30) can seriously damage or kill the plants. In other colder zones, they can be grown as annuals.

L. montevidensis is one of the most popular species, which you'll find at the nurseries, though most are simply sold as "Lantana" or the cultivar name. Branches can trail 3-6 feet (1-2m), with dark green coarsely toothed leaves, which can take on a reddish/purple hue, especially from cold. These come in purple, white, pink, mixes of red/orange/yellow, etc. The variety is also used to create hybrids.

Crushed leaves give off a strong scent that some people don't like.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Lantana (old name, once applied to a viburnum). Verbenaceae. Mostly shrubs or undershrubs, sometimes half-climbing, with opposite or verticillate rough dentate leaves, and spikes or cymes of small verbena-like flowers; one species or group much grown by florists, and a few others sometimes planted.

Plant scabrous, hirsute or pubescent: fls. small, red, orange, white or otherwise, in dense spikes or heads, gamopetalous, the calyx very small, the corolla somewhat irregularly 4-5-parted but not bilabiate, the corolla- tube slender; stamens 4. didynamous, attached midway in the tube, included; ovary 2-loculed, becoming a fleshy or dryish drupe with 2 nutlets: bracts subtending the head often imitate an involucre. Verbena differs in having achene-like nutlets and long-tubular 5 toothed calyx.—Species probably 50, mostly in Trop. and Subtrop. Amer., but also in the Old World. Lantanas have been long in culture, and it is difficult to refer the garden forms to botanical species. The species themselves are confusing. Most of the garden kinds are of the L. Camara type. There are several camara-like species which probably have hybridized to produce these forms; but Voss regards these species as only forms of L. Camara (preferring, however, to use the name L. aculeata). Accepting L. Camara in Voss's sense, the garden lantanas may be said to be derived from that species; and this view is adopted below. In recent years, a strain of very dwarf varieties has become popular as border plants. The lantanas are free-flowering in winter and summer, but an odor of foliage and flowers that is disagreeable to many persons prevents them from popular use as cut-flowers. They are very useful in window-gardens and the dwarf kinds make good subjects for hanging-baskets. From the window they may be transferred to the open in summer, where they bloom profusely.

The culture of the florists' lantana is relatively simple. It is grown under glass for bloom in cold weather and also in the open in summer. It has been improved in its usefulness as a bedding-plant of late years, largely through the efforts of French hybridists. The older varieties were mostly rather tall and lanky, later in coming into bloom, and dropped their flowers badly after rain-storms, but were showy in warm and dry weather. The new varieties are dwarf, spreading and bushy in habit, early and free-flowering, and the heads or umbels of bloom average much larger, with florets in proportion; nor do they drop from the plants as did the old varieties in bad weather. These newer kinds are not so well known as they should be. They are very desirable for any situation where sun-loving bedding plants are used, in groups or borders, window-boxes, baskets and vases. The lantana is not particular as to soil, provided the exposure is sunny, and also that the soil is well supplied with moisture at least until a fair growth has been made. When well established the plants do not seem to mind drought, and continue bright and attractive in the hottest weather. They should not be transplanted out in the open before danger of frost is over. If the old plants are wanted for propagation, cut them back and transfer to pots early in September, and when they start into new growth, the soft wood will furnish cuttings that root easily. Keep young stock in a warm position through the winter months, and repot in April.Save the old plants, after frost has nipped their freshness late in autumn, prune severely back, remove them indoors, giving them a temperature anywhere above 40°, and with a little attention and fresh soil, every plant will be a perfect specimen, covered with blooms in May. Gardeners train them into fine standards, as prim and shapely as need be. Among the French varieties are very dwarf spreading growers, about 8 inches high.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.



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Lantana overgrowing an abandoned plantation.

A hard pruning is very useful in the spring to remove dead wood and prevent woodiness. Requires little or no fertilizing, over fertilizing or water reduces flowering.

Shrub types used like annuals are good in beds, containers, as low hedges or as foundation shrubs.

Spreading types make great groundcover, including on slopes, where they'll work to prevent erosion. These also look good growing over the sides of containers, raised beds, pots, or hanging baskets.


Root semi-ripe cuttings in the summer, or plant seeds at 61-64F (16-18C) in the spring.

Pests and diseases

Mildew can be a problem in shade, or during longer periods of overcast weather. Can also be susceptible to whiteflies, spider mites, rust, virus disease, root knot nematodes, stem rot, and leaf spot.


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Several cultivars of Lantana camara have been selected for differing flower color.

Lantana is a genus of about 150 species. This list contains some of the better known species.



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