How to Grow and Care for Lantana?

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Lantana is a genus of tropical flowering plants that have become a beloved choice for gardeners seeking low-maintenance beauty and vibrant colors.

These drought-tolerant gems not only add a burst of color to any garden, but they also attract an array of pollinators, including butterflies and hummingbirds.

In this ultimate guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to successfully grow and care for lantana, from selecting the perfect variety to overwintering and propagation techniques.

How to Grow and Care for Lantana

Choosing the Right Lantana Variety

With over 150 species and countless hybrids, the lantana family offers a diverse range of options to suit any gardener’s needs. Here are some popular varieties to consider:

Trailing Varieties

Perfect for hanging baskets, window boxes, and spilling over retaining walls, trailing lantanas add a cascading touch of color to any outdoor space.

Lantana montevidensis

This trailing variety features a profusion of purple, yellow, and white blooms that create a stunning ombre effect. It’s an excellent choice for containers or as a ground cover in warm climates.

Lantana sellowiana

With its graceful, cascading growth habit and a mix of purple, yellow, and orange flower clusters, this lantana adds a tropical flair to any setting.

Compact Varieties

If you’re looking for a more contained, bushy plant, compact lantanas are an excellent choice for borders, mass plantings, and containers.

Lantana camara

The most common and widely available lantana variety, ‘Camara’ comes in a rainbow of colors, including red, orange, yellow, white, and various bi-colors. Its compact habit and continuous blooms make it a versatile option for any garden.

Lantana x Hybrid Varieties

Plant breeders have developed numerous hybrid lantanas that offer improved disease resistance, more vibrant colors, and a more compact growth habit. Popular hybrids include ‘Luscious’, ‘Dallas Red’, and ‘Confetti’.

Tree-Form Varieties

For a unique and eye-catching addition to your garden, consider a tree-form lantana. These upright varieties can reach up to 6 feet tall, creating a stunning focal point with their umbrella-shaped flower clusters.

Lantana montevidensis ‘Tree Form’

This variety features a tree-like habit with clusters of purple and yellow blooms, making it an excellent choice for adding height and visual interest to your garden.

When selecting a lantana variety, consider factors such as growth habit, color preferences, intended use (ground cover, borders, containers), and your climate zone, as some varieties are better suited for warmer or cooler regions.

Planting Lantana for Success

Site Selection and Soil Preparation

Lantana thrives in full sun and well-draining soil. Choose a location that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day, and avoid areas with heavy, clay-based soil or poor drainage.

Before planting, amend the soil with compost, well-rotted manure, or a balanced organic matter to improve drainage and nutrient content. Lantana prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5.

Proper Planting Techniques

When it comes to planting lantana, timing and spacing are crucial for optimal growth and flowering.

Planting Time: Plant lantana in spring after the last frost has passed, or in early fall in warm climates. Avoid planting during the hottest summer months, as the stress can hinder establishment.

Spacing and Depth: Space plants 18-24 inches apart for compact varieties, and 24-36 inches apart for trailing or tree-form varieties. Plant at the same depth as the nursery pot, ensuring the crown (where the stems meet the roots) is level with the soil surface.

Watering: Water thoroughly after planting, and continue to water regularly until the plants are established. Lantana is drought-tolerant once established, but proper watering during the first few months is crucial for strong root development.

Caring for Lantana: Maintenance and Grooming

While lantana is relatively low-maintenance, following these care tips will ensure a healthy, vibrant display throughout the growing season.

Before looking into the care tips, let’s look into this table below:

Aspect Requirement
Light Full sun (6-8 hours per day)
Watering Moderate; allow soil to dry between waterings
Soil Well-draining, sandy or loamy soil
Temperature Thrives in warm climates, frost-sensitive
Fertilization Monthly during growing season with balanced fertilizer
Pruning Regularly to promote bushy growth and flowering
Pests Watch for aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies
Propagation Easily propagated from cuttings or seeds
Common Issues Root rot from overwatering, yellowing leaves


Newly Planted: Water newly planted lantana regularly, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged. Aim for about 1 inch of water per week, adjusting as needed based on rainfall and temperature.

Established Plants: Once established, lantana is drought-tolerant and can thrive with minimal watering. However, it benefits from occasional deep watering during prolonged dry spells to prevent wilting and promote continuous blooming.


Lantana has relatively low fertilizer requirements, but a little boost can go a long way in promoting vigorous growth and prolific flowering.

When to Fertilize: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring, just as new growth begins to emerge.

Fertilizer Options: Look for a fertilizer formulated for flowering plants or use a balanced 10-10-10 or 12-12-12 fertilizer. Avoid over-fertilizing, as too much nitrogen can promote excessive foliage growth at the expense of blooms.

Pruning and Deadheading

Regular pruning and deadheading are essential for maintaining a tidy, well-shaped lantana plant and encouraging continuous blooming.

Pruning: In early spring, before new growth emerges, prune lantana to remove any dead or damaged stems. Cut back the plant by about one-third to promote bushier growth and more blooms.

Deadheading: Throughout the growing season, regularly remove spent flower clusters (also known as deadheading) to prevent the plant from going to seed and diverting energy away from producing new blooms.

Grooming and Shaping

Beyond pruning and deadheading, you may need to groom and shape your lantana plants to maintain their desired appearance.

Pinching: Pinch back the tips of new growth to encourage a fuller, bushier plant and more branching.

Shaping: Use pruners or shears to shape trailing or tree-form varieties as needed, removing any stray or wayward stems to maintain a tidy appearance.

Pests, Diseases, and Their Management

Like any plant, lantana can be susceptible to certain pests and diseases. However, with proper care and management, these issues can often be prevented or controlled.

Common Pests


These sap-sucking insects can cause distorted growth, yellowing leaves, and a sticky substance called honeydew, which can lead to sooty mold. Control aphids with insecticidal soap, neem oil, or by introducing beneficial insects like ladybugs or lacewings.


Small, white flying insects that can cause yellowing and stunted growth. Use sticky traps or treat with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.


These small insects feed on the undersides of leaves, causing stippled or bleached areas. Treat with insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, or a strong spray of water to dislodge them.

Spider Mites

Tiny spider-like pests that can cause yellowing, stippling, and webbing on the leaves. Manage with regular hosing, insecticidal soap, or by introducing predatory mites.

Common Diseases

Powdery Mildew

Characterized by a white, powdery growth on leaves and stems, powdery mildew thrives in humid conditions. Improve air circulation, avoid overhead watering, and treat with a fungicide if necessary.

Leaf Spot

Caused by various fungal pathogens, leaf spot results in circular or irregular spots on leaves. Remove affected leaves, improve air circulation, and apply a fungicide if the problem persists.

Root Rot

A soil-borne disease that can cause wilting, yellowing, and eventual plant death. Ensure proper drainage, avoid overwatering, and treat with a fungicide if necessary.

Organic control methods like insecticidal soap, neem oil, and horticultural oil can often effectively manage pests and diseases. For severe infestations or persistent problems, consult a professional for appropriate chemical treatment options.

Overwintering and Propagation

While lantana is a tropical plant, there are ways to enjoy it year-round or propagate it for new plants.

Overwintering Lantana

In Cooler Climates: In regions where temperatures drop below freezing, bring potted lantana indoors before the first frost. Place them in a bright, sunny location and water sparingly throughout the winter. Alternatively, protect in-ground plants by covering with a thick layer of mulch or a frost blanket

In Warmer Climates: In mild winter regions (USDA Zones 8-10), lantana may remain evergreen and continue blooming throughout the year. However, it’s still a good idea to prune the plant back by one-third to one-half in early spring to encourage fresh, vigorous growth and flowering.

Propagating Lantana

Lantana can be easily propagated through stem cuttings or division, allowing you to create new plants for free or share with friends and neighbors.

Stem Cuttings

  1. Take 4-6 inch stem cuttings from new, healthy growth in spring or summer. Make a clean cut just below a leaf node (the point where leaves emerge from the stem).
  2. Remove the lower leaves from the cutting, leaving a few at the top.
  3. (Optional) Dip the cut end in a rooting hormone powder or liquid to encourage faster root development.
  4. Plant the cuttings in a well-draining potting mix, burying about 2 inches of the stem.
  5. Water the potting mix and cover the container with a clear plastic bag or dome to create a mini greenhouse effect.
  6. Place the cuttings in a warm, bright location, but out of direct sunlight.
  7. Check regularly and water when the potting mix starts to dry out.
  8. Once new growth appears and roots have developed (in about 4-6 weeks), gradually acclimate the cuttings to normal growing conditions.
  9. Transplant the rooted cuttings into individual containers or the desired outdoor location.


For established, multi-stemmed lantana plants, division is an easy way to propagate new plants.

  1. In early spring, before new growth emerges, carefully dig up the entire plant.
  2. Gently shake or brush off excess soil from the root ball.
  3. Using a sharp, clean knife or pruners, divide the root ball into several sections, ensuring each division has roots and stems.
  4. Replant the divisions at the same depth as the original plant, spacing them appropriately for their size.
  5. Water thoroughly and continue to water regularly until the divisions are established.

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