Lantana is one of the most common perennial flowers in the Houston area for many reasons. Houston climate is hot enough! It practically thrives on neglect. The don’t need much water. It blooms constantly through warm weather with a variety of colorful choices for any design.
There are about 150 different species of Lantana and they are in the Verbena family. They are native to tropical regions of the Americas and Africa. Finding the one that fits your Landscape Design is important, otherwise it may not perform at it’s best or overgrow the space. There is a Trailing Lantana that will reach approximately 12 inches tall and spreads 3 to 6 feet across. The common colors in our area of this variety are Purple and White, but if you look around you can find them in almost any color. Another type is the medium bush size lantana reaches 2 to 3 feet tall and spreads 6 to 8 feet wide. The most common colors in our area of these varieties are many shades of yellow, while others have multiple colors on the same bush like yellow, pink, red, orange, purple, and white. With all these to choose from, nurseries continue to create new varieties. These new smaller varieties will more easily fit into our compact neighborhood landscape designs.
Lantana loves FULL sun and can tolerate some shade. If these perennial flowers get too much shade they will not bloom as much as they should. Low sunlight also creates fungus growth. Once Lantana is established it only needs occasional watering. It is very drought tolerant and thrives in these conditions. It prefers sandy, slightly dry soils. It is also tolerant of salty conditions.
There is not much to do with Lantana if it is planted with enough room to grow. It can handle constant pruning during any time of the year. Fertilization, especially in the early Spring, will help the plant thrive. Feed
it with a good balanced fertilizer such as a 10-10-10 or 20-20-20. This step is not necessary for Lantana, but it doesn’t hurt.
How these flowers “Stand Out”
Lantana is on of the best Low Maintenance plants for our Houston Area. It thrives on being neglected and it is Deer Resistant.
If you are trying to create a Butterfly and Hummingbird garden, Lantana will fit in perfectly. With all of these positives there has to be a reason that it is not more popular than it is. The berries on the Lantana are poisonous and can be lethal if eaten.
Our Houston soil conditions are not ideal for these perennial flowers. Our clay soils hold too much moisture and if we
are in a heavy rain period it is very susceptible to powdery mildew. Once this happens it is very difficult to get rid of for the rest of that growing season. If you are fighting powdery mildew every year then you might try a couple different things. Try transplanting it to a more ideal area with more sun and better drained soils. Another option is to convert your sprinkler system to drip. Like most plants, they hate to get their leaves wet.
Lantana also has a fragrance that is unique. It’s not a bad fragrance, but I have never heard anyone say they enjoy the smell of Lantana.
Anyway it goes, Lantana is essentially a trouble free ground cover or bush that will give you many months of bright blooms. It’s fantastic for water conservation efforts. Have fun with this one, just keep it away from any pets.