Lantana camara is a cheery, undemanding plant that will take care of itself after it becomes established. Winter hardy to USDA Zone 7, it thrives as a perennial in even poor soil conditions. Gardeners in other regions can grow lantana as an annual. This care-free plant asks almost nothing in the way of maintenance. The greenest novice gardener with the blackest of thumbs can grow lantana successfully. In fact, it has naturalized in temperate regions such as Florida and Texas, prompting those who despise it to refer to it as a stinky, noxious weed. Set your lantana out in the spring and look forward to profuse clusters of bi-color flowers happily attracting butterflies and bees to your garden until frost.
Plant lantana outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. Choose a fertile, well-draining spot where it will receive plenty of morning sun but can be protected during the hot afternoon hours.
Water your lantana plant thoroughly and slowly to soak the soil at planting time. Allow it dry out slightly before watering again. Keep the soil evenly moist throughout the growing season.
Fertilize monthly with an all-purpose fertilizer throughout the lantana's first growing season, beginning two weeks after planting. No feeding will be necessary in subsequent years.
Wear gloves to protect your hands from rough hairs covering the foliage of established lantana specimens. Be prepared for the unpleasant odor that this plant exudes when it is damaged. Prune out dead, damaged or diseased stems as they occur throughout the growing season. Trim excessively leggy lantana plants back by as much as 25 percent at one time to shape them and keep them looking tidy.
Deadhead your lantana weekly if it's a variety that sets seeds prolifically. This will not only extend the blooming season but also will reduce vast numbers of future unwanted lantana seedlings.
Prune perennial lantana back to 12 inches tall in January. Mulch with a 3- to 4-inch layer of pine straw if you're in a cooler area that commonly experiences killing frost.