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Plant Profile: Trailing Lantana (Lantana montevidensis)

Lantana montevidensisA butterfly magnet, trailing lantana is a low woody shrub with vine-like stems that can grow up to six feet long. It is a native of South America and is grown as a perennial in zones 8 and warmer, but as an annual in colder areas. In frost free areas it blooms throughout the year with flat clusters one inch across of lilac to purple-pink flowers with yellow throats. The hairy dark green leaves are rough, one inch long, and emit an unpleasant aroma when crushed. Trailing lantana is fast growing and easy to grow, maintain and propagate. At 12-24” tall it makes a colorful groundcover in a sunny site. The cascading nature of the plant makes it an excellent choice for walls, raised beds, containers, especially baskets where the trailing stems can be used to advantage. Trailing lantana is tolerant of drought, salt, and heat so is suitable for seaside plantings. In warmer regions such as the South and southern California, trailing lantana has naturalized and become invasive in some locations but not nearly so much as its cousin, shrub lantana (Lantana camara).

Type: Flowering shrub

Outstanding Feature: Continuous flowering

Form: Prostrate, trailing

Growth Rate: Fast

Bloom: Clusters 1” across of small lilac to purple-pink flowers with yellow throats continuously throughout the year in frost free climates; in summer in cold climates.

Size: 12-24” H x 6’ W

Light: Full sun

Soil: Prefers fertile, light, well-drained soil but tolerates less.

Hardiness: Zones 8-10; tops may die back in cold weather but root will produce new growth in spring.

Care: Low maintenance; prune to shape and control growth; can cut to the ground occasionally.

Pests and Diseases: None of significance but susceptible to powdery mildew, leaf spot and stem rot if grown in shady or damp conditions; whiteflies and spider mites can be a problem.

Propagation: Seed; half-hardened cuttings taken in summer; soft-tip cuttings any time of year.

Outstanding Selection: ‘Weeping lavender’.

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