A Few Words About Lantana Flowers
Lantana flowers are very practical to grow as they come in a variety of colors and will under normal conditions, bloom throughout the growing season. Lantana plants, of which there are several species, are tropical to subtropical plants. In regions where there is no freezing weather, the lantana plants tend to be evergreen. Light frost may transform the plant from an evergreen to a deciduous plant as the plant will lose its leaves, only to bounce back later. In regions having more severe winters or many freezing days, the plant will not survive. In the United States, lantana flowers can be grown as a perennial in zones 8 and above, but must be grown as an annual in colder climates.
Lantana flowers should be grown in full sun as they are susceptible to mildew when grown in shaded areas. Most species of the plant are quite drought tolerant, and the lantana plant is generally not particularly fussy about the type of soil it is grown in as long as the location isn't permanently wet or the soil drains poorly. Lantana flowers can either be planted in masses, planted as specimen plants, or used as borders. Depending upon the species or cultivar, the plants will grow from a foot to 6 feet tall. When planted as a perennial or as an evergreen, lantana plants can be grown as hedges. When grown as annuals lantana flowers are often spectacular when planted in hanging baskets. Lantana flowers and lantana plants can therefore be said to be suitable for many and varied uses.
Lantana plants are deer resistant; in fact the foliage is toxic to most animals. Fortunately most animals, including deer, tend not to eat too many of the leaves, or don't touch the plant at all. The berries are also mildly toxic when still green, but are edible once they have ripened.
Two Main Species - Lantana flowers and plants which are found in nurseries usually come from either or both of two species of the plant, Lantana camara and Lantana montevidensis. L. camara, which is the basic species for plants sold in nurseries features upright plants growing to 6 feet with lantana flowers which appear in 1 to 2 inch clusters and are red, yellow, or orange. L. montevidensis is used primarily in cross breeding, and some of the variates often are used for ground cover. This species is more hardy than L. camara, and can successfully be grown in Zone 7. Flowers of L. montevidensis generally are of a rosy-lilac color.
There are numerous hybrids of the two species, including dwarf varieties which are grown as compact bushes, such as Dwarf Pink, Dwarf White, Dwarf Yellow, and Gold Mound, slightly larger bushes such as the very popular Lemon Swirl, and even small patio trees, Spreading Sunset, Tangerine, and Sunburst being three examples.
Invasive In Some Locations - Although lantana flowers are for the most part popular everywhere, at least as far as their blooms are concerned, the plant has proven to be invasive in some tropical areas, especially Hawaii, where it is regarded as an invasive pest. The lantana flower has also caused problems in Australia, where efforts to control it, specifically the introduction of lantana plant-eating insects has backfired, as the insects eat other, more valuable plants as well, while the lantana plant continues to thrive.
If you live in an area where lantana plants have not proven to be a problem, or will be grown as an annual, the plant is well worth considering. Many are not familiar with lantana flowers, even though they may have seen them in hanging baskets or used in floral arrangements. These plants are certainly worth a try, as when given the proper climatic conditions they are not difficult to grow.