How to Make a Lantana Topiary
Lantana camara, an easy-to-grow flowering shrub, does best when pruned regularly, making it a good candidate for topiary. Lantana come in reds, oranges, yellows and blues. Select a sterile variety, which blooms profusely and never forms berries, to enjoy flowers virtually all summer long. Grow your lantana into a tree-form topiary starting with a rooted cutting. You'll end up with a beautiful flowering work of art for your deck, patio or porch.
Place a layer of small stones on the bottom of the flowerpot for drainage. Fill the pot about halfway with potting mix, position the rooted lantana cutting in the pot and add more potting mix, pressing down lightly. Fill with soil to about an inch from the top. Water the plant.
Prune the side shoots about an inch or so to encourage vertical growth. Stick the stake next to the lantana plant and fasten the two together with twist ties.
Set the lantana in a sunny spot and allow it to grow until it reaches about 2 feet. Water it weekly or as needed.
When the lantana is about 24 inches tall, cut off the top of the main vertical stem. This will encourage the plant to branch out rather than continue growing upward.
Strip the bottom two-thirds of the plant stem of all its leaves. Trim the remaining leaves to create a spherical top for your topiary.
Turn the plant weekly to provide even sunlight. Fertilize every two months during active growth. And be sure to loosen the twist ties as the plant stem grows in diameter. Pinch off new growth regularly to keep the topiary full and round on top.
Repot your lantana topiary in a larger container when roots have filled the flowerpot and begin growing out of the bottom.
Ann Wolters has been a writer, consultant and writing coach since 2008. Her work has appeared in "The Saint Paul Almanac" and in magazines such as "Inventing Tomorrow" and "Frontiers." She earned a Master of Arts in English as a second language from the University of Minnesota.