Richard Bogren, Huffstickler, Kyle, Gill, Daniel J., Owings, Allen D.
News Release Distributed 04/01/11
By LSU AgCenter Horticulturists Dan Gill, Kyle Huffstickler and Allen Owings
Lantanas continue to be one of the most popular herbaceous perennials for Louisiana landscapes. Many varieties – some old and some new – offer a multitude of growth forms and flower colors. Lantanas can be added to the landscape from now through summer for great color into late fall.
Lantana growth habits include trailing, mounding and upright.
Trailing types are scientifically called Lantana montevidensis and typically reach a height of 18 inches. Foliage texture is finer, and flower colors are white, lavender and purple. Common older varieties of this type are Trailing Purple, Imperial Purple, Trailing Lavender and White Lightnin. Trailing-type lantanas are normally evergreen in Louisiana. They also flower in late winter and early spring when you wouldn’t expect lantanas to be in bloom. Trailing lantanas don’t set fruit like the mounding and upright varieties.
Mounding-type and upright-type lantanas are primarily classified as Lantana camara. Mounding lantanas reach 30-36 inches tall while upright growers, including the old “ham and egg”-type lantanas, can reach 4-5 feet tall in one growing season. Mounding and upright growers are reliably perennial, as are the trailing types. You need to occasionally prune these varieties to encourage repeat bloom and discourage fruit (berry) formation.
Older lantanas include the mounding varieties New Gold and Gold Mound with gold-colored flowers, Silver Mound with white flowers and Lemon Drop with yellow flowers. An older upright variety is Dallas Red with red flowers.
Newer groups of lantanas include the Patriot series, which come in about 15 varieties and are broken down into even more diverse growth habits. You also can find Landmark, Lucky and Bandana series lantanas at garden centers in Louisiana. All of these are introductions from the last five years or so.
The Lucky series has always performed very well in LSU AgCenter landscape evaluations. The new Bandanas also excel and have flower colors not found in smaller-growing mounding types. The Sonrise, Sonset, and Sonshine lantanas from Mississippi also are great plants. You can also find Chapel Hill Yellow and Chapel Hill Gold at garden centers this year.
Lantanas are great landscape plants and also do well in containers. They perform best in full sun. Lantanas are very drought-tolerant. Irrigation is needed only in very droughty situations. Fertilize these plants often to encourage growth – once at planting and again in late summer in a landscape bed.
If you have old lantanas that are stagnant in their growth or are not blooming well, prune them back about halfway and fertilize them. New growth will produce new flowers.
Also, watch plants for lantana lace bugs. This is the only main pest on lantana in Louisiana, but it has become more of a problem in recent years.
Besides providing landscape color most of the year, lantanas attract butterflies like crazy.
Visit LaHouse in Baton Rouge to see sustainable landscape practices in action. The home and landscape resource center is near the intersection of Burbank Drive and Nicholson Drive (Louisiana Highway 30) in Baton Rouge, across the street from the LSU baseball stadium. For more information, go to www.lsuagcenter.com/lahouse and www.lsuagcenter.com/lyn.