Lantana: Summer Flower | Sayed Al Bustani | Home and garden

Lantanas thrive in full sun and summer heat in Tulare and Kings counties. Its roots prefer warm soil and light watering, which is uncharacteristic of many plants. When first planting lantana in the garden, it is best to wait until late spring. They will grow rapidly throughout the summer and fall, then usually die back to woody stems with the first frost of winter. But do not despair, most of them will survive even a sudden frost and resume growth in the spring.

Members of the verbena family, many lantana plants are native to tropical regions of North, Central, and South America. They have simple, dark green leaves, often with serrated edges and are born in opposite pairs along the stem. Crushed leaves have a pungent odor that some people find objectionable. If grown in heavy shade, the foliage can become infected with mildew, but this is rarely a problem in Tulare-Kings counties. Lantana flowers are attractive to butterflies, moths and birds. However, the blackberry-like fruit is toxic to humans.

Another reason we love lantana is the abundance of color it provides throughout the entire growing season. They produce small flowers in tight clusters that resemble miniature nasal flowers. Both “old” and newer hybrid lantanas come in multiple vibrant colors and are perfect for summer pizzazz in the landscape. Many varieties are available in one color. Most nurseries carry several different varieties.

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