lantana 2A native of Central and South American this evergreen plant has spread to many areas of the world becoming invasive in some. It makes a very attractive bonsai, however, especially when it is in bloom. The flowers are produced in tight round clusters on relatively long stalks throughout the summer and change color from pink to red, to orange. Blue black berries follow and are poisonous. The branches tend to be spindly and the leaves are widely spaced so training can be difficult. Flowers, leaves and roots have a pungent odor. All styles of bonsai are possible but the choice of style should be made during the winter or spring when the flower clusters do not hide the shape of the plant. There are many different cultivars some with flowers that are all white, all yellow, or in shades of lavender.

Position: Plants should be place outside in full sun during the summer, with some afternoon protection from the sun in hot climates. In winter the plants should be brought indoors and kept at temperatures of 41 to 46F, although they will tolerate warmer temperatures.

Water: Using tap water, give the plants plenty of water in summer.  If grown in the full sun they will need an abundance of water.  Water sparingly in winter being careful to avoid letting the root ball dry out.

Fertilizer: Use a liquid bonsai fertilizer every two weeks from spring to autumn. Feed once a month in winter if the plant is kept in a fairly warm room; not at all if kept in a cool one.

Repotting: Repot every two years in the spring and include root pruning.

Soil: Use bonsai soil or a mixture of loam, peat moss, and sand in a ratio of 1:1:1. Add a teaspoon of powdered organic fertilizer to enough soil to fill a six inch bowl.

Pruning: In autumn and in spring, lantana can be pruned back hard to the largest limbs. When the new growth is eight inches long it should be cut back to one or two leaf pairs and maintained at that length. Once the plants are established they can be pinched back from May onwards to encourage twiggy growth maintain a pleasing flower position.

Wiring: Wiring is very difficult because the branches are very brittle. If wiring is necessary, wire only young branches.

Propagation: Cuttings, seed.

Plant combinations pointer

By Karen