Lantana belongs to the family of Verbenaceae. There are over 150 varieties of lantana, with color combinations just as varied. Lover of the heat, lantana is native to the tropical Americas, as well as western Africa. Lantana is a hardy plant when grown outdoors in zones 8,9,10 and 11, and is a low-maintenance addition to the landscape. Its habit of quickly growing and profuse blooms, make this perennial a favorite in southern gardens. Even a novice gardener will delight in the effortless care required to maintain lantana looking its best.
Grow lantana outdoors as a perennial in areas where the temperature does not drop below 30 degrees. Grow lantana in a container, or as an annual in cooler climates. Plant lantana outside in the spring after the weather has warmed.
Consider the plant’s growth habit when choosing a planting site, as different varieties can grow larger than others and the warmer the climate, the larger the plant. Varieties such as “New Gold” can grow two feet tall and wide and “Radiation” can reach a height and width of five feet.
Choose an area in the garden that receives full sunlight during the day, to grow lantana. Plant it in an area that will receive no less than five hours of direct sunlight each day, for best blooms.
Amend clay soils with sand to increase drainage. Amend strictly sandy soils with compost. Make sure the planting area has good drainage. Work the sand or compost one foot down into the existing soil.
Rid the planting area of weeds, grasses and other vegetation that can compete with the growth of lantana. Place mulch around plants to reduce new weed growth and retain the soil’s moisture.
Water the lantana regularly for the best blooms. Water every other day in climates that are exceedingly hot, dry and the soil is sandy. Modify your watering schedule according to local weather conditions.
Fertilize once a month with a 20-20-20 water-soluble fertilizer, or fertilize in spring with a granular, all-purpose fertilizer. Fertilizing too much can cut down on how many blooms lantana will produce.
Prune to control size and shape of the lantana. Use hedge clippers to trim the entire plant in spring. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage the plant to produce more blooms.