Lantana Camara

Lantana come from the family Verbenacea, the Verbena family, its common name is large leafed Lantana, wild sage, red sage and shrub verbena.

It is a native of the American tropics, Caribbean, Central America and Mexico, so they love the heat and can cope with the warm and wet, but in our climate in the UK they should be classed as a tender perennial, which means they need protection from frost.

Modern day hybrids developed around by breeders around the world have brought a series called ‘Chapel Hill’. The varieties in this series are tolerant of the cold and are hardy down to -10°C, providing they are kept away for very wet soils, they are deciduous and therefore will defoliate once they are hit by frosts, but they will regenerate in the spring when the weather warms up, usually from the base of the plant.

They can be found in a lot of places in southern Europe and you would have seen them used in landscape situations in many common holiday destinations.

The foliage is hairy in appearance and touch and produces a distinct odour of citrus and is a massive producer of nectar and is therefore loved by butterflies and bees. Lantanas are often used in Butterfly house’s as a source of nectar.

Usage

In the UK they are commonly used as summer container plants or as a conservatory plant, but the hardy ‘Chapel Hill’ series will survive outdoors.

Window boxes, hanging baskets, and patio tubs are ideal for use as a container plant.

Lantanas tolerate salt spray and can be used in beach plantings.

Growing on

Lantana will adapt to many soils, so the use of multipurpose or general potting compost will be fine for planting into.

Ideal location will be full sun or part shade and if planting in a border we recommend a free draining soil.

To control the growth habit of the plant we suggest you pinch out the growing tips of the shoots as it reaches the required height in the growing season.

Lantanas can grow up to six feet in their natural climate, but in the UK they will only achieve 18-24 inches in a growing season.

Remove dead flowers throughout the growing season

Feeding and watering

Lantanas prefer to be kept moist as excessive drought when in containers will result in the plant defoliating under stress, it will recover but can affect its flowering capacity for a short period of time.

Feeding should be done at least weekly in the summer period using feeds such as Tomorite, Phostrogen and Baby Bio, alternatively you can use slow release granules in the compost when planting, this will give a gradual release of feed which releases with soil temperature and moistures levels, products available under this category is Osmocote

Overwintering

Should you wish to overwinter your plants then we suggest you bring them inside into a dry light, frost free environment before the end of October, it should then be allowed to dry out and only water it occasionally (approx, once a month) but avoid leaf drop, this will be due to being too dry.

There is only a need to feed about once every 2 months, until March then increase the moisture and feeding as spring comes along and the plant can be placed outside once the risk of frost have disappeared.

Flowering

Flowering will commence from late April until the first frost.

Conclusions

Lantana are extremely easy to grow and require little attention and the only pest you need to look out for is whitefly, and this usually only attacks when the plants are being grown indoors.

N.B Foliage and unripe berries are known to be toxic it livestock, not known to be of danger to humans.