Lantana is a hardy flowering shrub. Originally a tropical plant, lantana is grown as an annual in most climates and as a perennial in temperate zones. The flowering shrub has more than 150 species ranging from bushes 5 feet tall to compact mounds under a foot. Compact lantana plants are easy to grow, fit most spaces and tolerate difficult garden conditions.
Select compact lantana plants for sunny, well-drained areas. The fast-growing plants bloom profusely with small flower clusters. Colors range from solid yellows and reds to variegated yellow, pink and lavender blooms on tiny bouquet-shaped flower clusters. Lantana plants grow in most soils as long as the roots do not stand in water. Once established, these compact plants survive extreme heat and low water conditions.
Choose compact mounding or trailing lantana for low-water landscapes. Compact plants fit easily into summer hot spots such as open driveway borders and property line dividers. The low-water traits make compact lantana suitable for containers, window boxes, raised beds and other exposed planters. Compact lantana grows well with other sun-loving plants such as marigolds and daisies. Use trailing compact plants as ground cover with other summer low-growers like portulaca.
The compact cultivars bloom profusely from spring to autumn. Compact lantana grows well in coastal locations exposed to salt air. The plants require little fertilizer and bloom again if spent flowers are deadheaded. Brilliant blossoms attract butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators. Compact lantana plants add color to xeriscape gardens. Easily pruned to fit small spaces, trailing and compact lantana plants thrive in neglected areas such as rock gardens.
Choose planting locations away from damp soil or shade. These compact plants are vulnerable to mold and fungus diseases. Root rot develops in wet ground. The pungent leaves do not attract many pests, but do attract whiteflies. Blast with water or use insecticidal soap to control infestations. Crush a leaf and sniff the foliage--some compact lantana varieties have a strong unpleasant smell. If the scent is offensive, plant away from doorways and do not use pungent cultivars for walkway ground cover.
Choose sterile lantana cultivars for landscape around children or pets. Use compact hybrids such as New Gold, Pinkie and Lemon Swirl. These lantana varieties set little or no seed and are not invasive. Avoid traditional lantana plants near small children and domestic animals; these plants develop small black fleshy seeds or fruit that looks like small edible berries but is poisonous. Fruiting lantana is invasive when birds spread the seeds into native plant zones.
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