Shrub lantana is a tropical evergreen shrub native to Central America and the West Indies often grown as an annual in zones 7 and colder. It offers an abundance of flowers from summer to frost, and in frost free climates blooms throughout the year. The flowers are often multicolored in shades of orange, red, pink, rose, yellow and white and are produced in clusters about one to two inch across. Plants may grow up to twelve feet tall but most varieties are three to four feet tall with a width up to eight feet. The dark leaves are up to four inches long, one to two inches wide and heavily textured. Both leaves and stems are hairy and give off an unpleasant aroma when crushed. Lantana is easy to grow, thrives in dry heat or heat with humidity, is tolerant of salt spray and drought, and attracts butterflies. It is an excellent shrub for mixed borders and beds, as well as containers, with its brilliant colors and long bloom time. Many cultivars are available varying in size, color, and habit, and the species is rarely grown. The berries and leaves are considered toxic and in some areas such as Texas and Hawaii Lantana is considered invasive. Some cultivars are sterile or nearly so and therefore do not pose a threat.
Type: Tender evergreen shrub
Outstanding Feature: Colorful flowers with long bloom time
Form: Upright mound or trailing depending on the cultivar
Growth Rate: Fast
Bloom: Small flowers are produced in umbels 1-2” across in shades of red, rose, orange, yellow, pink and white over a long bloom time. In frost free climates plants bloom continuously while in colder climates plants bloom from summer until frost.
Size: 3-6’H x 3-8’W
Light: Full sun to partial shade
Soil: Medium, well-drained
Fertilizer: Too much fertilizer can decrease bloom
Hardiness: Zones 8-10; tops may be killed by frost but roots will produced new growth when warm temperatures return.
Care: Low maintenance; prune to encourage bushiness and control growth
Pests and Diseases: None of significance; susceptible to whiteflies and spider mites
Propagation: Seed but cultivars by cuttings in summer.
‘New Gold’ (gold)
‘Miss Huff’ (orange and pink)