Have You Met Lantana?

A Zebra Swallowtail enjoying Lantana, right outside our front door.  This Lantana is from the "Carolina" series, and tops 6' tall by September.

A Zebra Swallowtail enjoying Lantana, right outside our front door. This Lantana is from the “Bandana” series, and tops 6′ tall by September.

 

Have you met Lantana?

This is a tough, beautiful plant you will want to grow if you enjoy watching hummingbirds and butterflies.

Once it comes into bloom, generally in late May for us, it remains absolutely covered in flowers until it is killed by a heavy frost.

And each of those flowers is made up of dozens of little nectar filled cups.

 

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Beloved by hummingbirds and every species of butterfly which visits our garden, our clumps of Lantana offer us hours of entertainment, as we watch the traffic come and go from sunrise until dusk.

Even better, each little flower develops a little round fruit.  And songbirds love these little fruits.

Nothing is wasted!

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I gave my parents a potted yellow Lantana several weeks ago, which they placed on a patio table visible from their kitchen window.

I watched a beautiful green hummingbird ecstatically feed from their plant today, totally ignoring their “feeder” hanging 10 feet away.  Hummingbirds know the difference between birdie “Kool Aid” and the real deal.

Given the choice, would you have your lunch at Red Lobster or Dairy Queen?

 

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Here is a detailed post about growing Lantana, written about this time last year.  Please take a look if you haven’t had the fun of growing this amazing plant yet.

Lantana is drought tolerant, easy to establish, colorful, healthy, and has been reliably hardy for us.  They come in a fairly wide range of colors.

If you live in Zone 6 or further north, you can keep it indoors in a pot overwinter, or simply treat it like an annual.

These are not expensive plants.  I generally pay about $4.oo for a 4″ Lantana plant during spring annual season at the garden center.  A very small investment, for five to six months of color and entertainment, and the promise of many more years to come.

If you have not yet met Lantana, I invite you to get acquainted sometime soon.

Lantana wrapped with a Morning Glory vine.

Lantana wrapped with a Morning Glory vine.

 Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

Establishing your own butterfly and hummingbird garden; Forest Garden 2013

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About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

13 responses to “Have You Met Lantana?

  1. I’m growing two different lantana this year, but they will never get to 6′! Ours don’t overwinter of course, but they make a great annual bedding plant to be sure! I love your butterfly pics – so beautiful!

    • Thank you, Eliza. We love having them around 😉 What colors are you growing? Do they get much traffic in your garden from the butterflies? Down here, the roots are epic. They grow large, woody root systems like shrubs. We cut them back nearly to the ground in late winter, and most have new foliage growing within a few weeks. Varieties not rated for our zone still return year after year, which we appreciate. But I still plant more as bedding or container plants each year… 😉 I am so hoping that you can identify the caterpillars we found last night on the milkweed at the pond…. Best wishes, WG

      • My lantana are orange/yellow and the other is pink/peach – soo pretty. I understand lantana are considered invasive in some places (HI? I think) From your description it sounds like they could be tough cookies!

        • Eliza, so many of our much loved plants can become invasive- in the proper circumstance. They are a problem as close to home as the Gulf Coast- perhaps parts of SC, too, because they can self-sow from their abundant seeds. I love the pink/peach ones, too. They come in such lovely soft colors. You haven’t seen “tough” until you try to remove their roots from a bed! That first spring, I “assumed” they had died overwinter and tried to remove some from the previous summer. What a tough, messy job! Soon enough I realized they had survived, and could survive, and just let them be. They are late to leaf out, but we’ve lost just a few over the last 3 years. They generally had much smaller roots- probably why they failed to make it through the winter.

  2. I have four pots of this sitting in the garden waiting to go in the ground. A garden essential especially this time of year and into fall. And the hummingbirds and butterflies!!!

    • Bet the butterflies are all over it whether it is in the ground or in the pot! The last one I bought had critters landing on it as I carried it to check out! What colors are you planting, Barbara? Have you grown the lavender ground cover one yet? Thanks for stopping by the garden today 😉 Cheers! WG

      • I didn’t know which colors my were when I bought them (sometimes a surprise is a good thing) and they are the extremely vibrant red and orange and yellow variety. I rather like the hot pink and yellow ones myself. And no, I haven’t tried the lavender ground cover yet! But there’s always tomorrow…..

        • Do try it if you find it- not readily available. Ours has returned for several years in the ground. In the hanging basket, they didn’t. GardenHarvestSupply.com has an outstanding selection if you’re looking for new varieties of Lantana next season. Your vibrant red and yellow should attract every hummer in the county 😉

  3. Beautiful pictures of the butterfly visitors! Lantana is the first flower I remember – there was a magnificent specimen in the home I grew up in. It is still a special favorite of mine. Blessings, Sarah

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