October 19, 2013

Plant of the month: Lantana camara

Warning: This post is full of hot, bright colors!

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Why am I posting about Lantanas in October? Because I'm amazed they bloomed nonstop in my garden for six months straight! As I mentioned in my last post, Lantana camara already has a spot in my garden plans for 2014.

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All the photos in this post were captured either in my Wisconsin garden or in New Orleans. I didn't separate them because it doesn't really matter--same plant, same beautiful shape and colors! There are many cultivars of Lantana, and many of the photos here are of 'Sunrise Rose Improved.'

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Lantana is a tropical plant, winter-hardy to USDA zones 9-11, and native to Central and South America, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. Sometimes called Shrub Verbena, Spanish Flag, or Bacon and Eggs, it's invasive in parts of the southern U.S. In New Orleans, I saw it growing all over the place.

Throughout most of the U.S., however, it's an easy-care, bright annual that (I now know) blooms from first planting of bedding plants to the first frost. It prefers full sun, the leaves are somewhat fragrant, and it attracts butterflies and other pollinators. Under optimal conditions, it grows 3 ft. to 4 ft. tall and 1 ft. to 3 ft. wide. It's also drought-tolerant and grows in medium to sandy soil.

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Plus, it looks great planted near Salvia.

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I'll be dreaming of Lantanas during the long, cold months ahead...

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(Note: I'm taking a short break during the next few days. I might visit blogs here and there, but I'll be back and active in about a week. Thanks for your camaraderie, fellow gardeners and bloggers!)

48 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Yes, that's a good way to describe it. I so enjoy the blend of colors.

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  2. Hot gorgeous colors indeed!! Sooo good to hear from you Beth! Love your colorful posts and I so look forward to Northern gardening!

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    1. Hey, Diane. I'm so glad you're back to blogging! I enjoyed reading your first post from Michigan. Lucky you to have places to go in the north and the south!

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  3. Beautiful is the photos and have a good time!
    Greetings, RW & SK

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    1. Thanks! I enjoyed your blog and will check back soon.

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  4. I LOVE Lantana! Your photos are amazing. Such a gorgeous flower.

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    1. Thank you, Grace! I love the colors, the form, and the growth pattern of Lantanas. And now I know they bloom constantly--until they freeze.

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  5. Great pictures of Lantana camara. When I see these beautiful colours of them on your photos, I think I have to give them a start again next spring. I had Lantanas for many years, but when we stopped heating the greenhouse in winter, the Lantanas were finished.

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    1. Yes, it appears 32 degrees is the stopping point for Lantanas. Mine are still blooming today. We hit about 33 last night. But it won't like the 29s in the forecast!

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  6. A treat to see the bright colors in my rusty oak world of late!

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    1. I know--most of my world is rusty Oaks lately, too, with some gorgeous Maples down the street. So the Lantanas are great to see in an October garden. They kind of match the colors of the bright Maples.

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  7. A pretty but invasive pest in many places like in northern Queensland where my colleagues call it "bloody lantana". Glad it isn't hardy here in the upper Midwest. They also have a problem there with privet. Lesson: well behaved plants in one place are ecological problems somewhere else.

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    1. Yes, I'm glad it isn't hardy in the Midwest, too. It's such a unique and colorful plant, and the pollinators love it!

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  8. Funny - I was outside this morning taking photos of my lantanas. They are just so beautiful at this time of year. They deserve to be "Plant of the Month"! Have a nice blogging break!

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    1. I agree--they look great in the oblique autumn light. Sadly, mine shriveled up with the frost we had last week. I can't wait to plant them again next spring!

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  9. I've seen several posts featuring lantana now, not a plant I know at all, but so pretty, I now want to try it as an annual here next year. Thanks for your beautiful photos!

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    1. I think you'll be pleased. Lantanas are so bright and colorful--you just can't be anything but happy when you see them. And they fill the space pretty quickly.

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  10. Enjoy the time off Beth. I like Lantana myself too, but none in the garden this year. Maybe next year when I add a few more annuals to take our summers.

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    1. Thanks--I had a great break. Unfortunately, the Lantanas are gone for this year, but it will be fun to plant them again next year.

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  11. Bacon and Eggs!! It’s the first time I hear that name for Lantanas :-) They are beautiful and your photos are gorgeous as always - though Lantanas are not present in my garden – so many plants I would like to have – so little space in my sunny corner…
    Have a safe journey!

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    1. Isn't that a funny name? But I can see where they got the name. It's frustrating having space for sun-loving plants, isn't it?

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  12. Lantana is a staple here in central Texas. They are tough, tough, tough. One of my favorites is Dallas Red. They do have a sweet little flower and the butterflies love them too. I can see why you're smitten :) Your photos are fantastic.

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    1. Thanks, Cat! I love a plant that is killer gorgeous and tough, tough, tough. ;-) Plus, a butterfly attractor! I miss the Lantanas already!

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  13. Lantana is certainly a beautiful, long blooming flower! I am in hardiness zone 8a and sometimes, if we have a milder winter, lantana will survive through the year here. I was at a local public garden recently, and there was a lantana that had been growing for about five years. It was a fabulous shrub!

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    1. Lucky you! It sounds like you're in the perfect climate for Lantana--warm enough for it to survive the winter, but cool enough that it doesn't get out of control. I'm jealous!

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  14. I do like Lantanas, my favorite are the yellow and gold colored ones. Great for butterflies, too!

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    1. I like them all, but my favorites are the multicolored ones. They keep changing as the blooms go through various stages. And they sort of sparkle in the sun!

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  15. I discovered Lantanas several years ago, and now they're a mainstay in one of my borders. They were especially a highlight in my garden the two previous summers--one of the few plants that could survive the heat and drought without a problem. And who doesn't love all those hot colors? Beautiful photos!

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    1. Thanks, Rose! I can't agree more. And they love our hot Midwestern summer days!

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  16. I admired your Lantana in your previous posts - I do hope I can find it here as bedding in spring/summer time. I generally don't do annuals but might make some space if it presents itself!

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    1. Thanks, Angie. I think you'll be happy with it if you choose to add it. I had to search a little bit, but I found the Lantana plants and I'm so glad I did. Can't wait to plant them again next spring!

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  17. I planted several varieties of Lantana in my gardens for the first time this year... love them. Will plant them again for sure!

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    1. I bet they love your high-country garden, too! They really sparkle in the bright sunlight.

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  18. Hi Beth, they are so lovely in your pictures. You know what, sometimes when i still don't have the macro lens, i can't get a good shot of lantana and i wonder why! Now i can already shoot them nicely too, but not as good as yours specially that first one! We only have the wild types in my garden but yours are the hybrids i guess!

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    1. Thank you! The fascinating thing is that the colors keep changing as the buds and the flowers unfold. And they look different under various lighting conditions--that's part of their magic.

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  19. Lantanas are great plants for butterflies and pollinators in general. Many are actually hardy to zone 7 - we have tons of them here in the Raleigh area. I know that isn't much help to you in Wisconsin, but I thought I'd mention it in case others want to try them.

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    1. I'm jealous--I wish they were hardy here, but not too hardy because then apparently they can be invasive. Sounds like you have the perfect climate to keep them in check.

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  20. Lovely range of colours, but sadly it is invasive here in South Africa.

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    1. Sorry to hear that, Diana. That would be difficult for me, but then again you have so many wonderful native plants that aren't invasive in your part of the world. And your garden looks great year-round!

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  21. Hi Beth! Wonderful colors for this grey day!

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    1. Glad I brightened your day. ;-) I think I'm going to print out a photo of Lantana blooms to cheer me up on the cold winter days ahead.

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  22. I grew lantana for the first time in SC and add it to my VA garden every year. It's easy and the pollinators love it. What's not to love?

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    1. Yes--agreed! I think it will now be a standard in my garden, too. I love plants that bloom from May through October!

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  23. I plant lantana in pots and they last and last from May until October or November especially when there is little to no frost.

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    1. I think I might add them to pots in the future, too. No matter where they're planted, they shine!

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  24. I love Lantana! Beautiful photos!
    I'm in zone 7 (north Mississippi) and have been able to over-winter Lantana planted on the south side of the house to get every ray of warm sunshine. But our winters are very variable - sometimes mild, sometimes not. I added two new plants to the Lantana bed this year - all are still blooming. Hoping for a mild winter.
    Have a wonderful week!
    Lea

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    1. Thank you, Lea! I hope you have a mild winter, too. Sounds like you're in the perfect place for them. They love our hot Midwestern summers, too, but of course the freeze is the end of the road for Lantanas. :(

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