Lantana is a popular plant in the SF Bay area. Its staying power owes to its constant bloom, showy flowers, and the fact that this plant in all its forms is enjoyed by hummingbirds and butterflies for habitat gardens; and, is a drought tolerant, happy plant, well suited to our Mediterranean climate gardens.
Two main species, Lantana montevedensis and Lantana camara have been the focus of plant breeders for a while and these two species, and several of their cultivars, are the focus of this short post.
USDA zones: 9 – 11. In the verbena family and native to tropical regions of Africa and the Americas, this flowery evergreen, sun and heat loving perennial makes gardening easy! As mentioned, lantana is a drought tolerant plant, but like almost all plants, (no not fake ones,) you’ll need to water regularly right after planting and until the root system’s established. Also, lantana appreciates more water if you live in hot summer climate. With extreme heat, and especially if it’s living in a container, more frequent water will be needed. Check out some of the lantana choices below to match (habit, size and form) with your planting design. Keep in mind that lantana blooms longest in frost free areas. If you you live in an area with frost, use this plant like an annual. In the SF Bay area lantana is a perennial. And finally, lantana can be invasive in certain locations, (so check with your local area) this isn’t an issue here. Exposure: Sun. Water: Moderate to low.
Bright flower colors – Red, orange, yellow, purple, pink, white.
Pastels flower colors – Mixture of pastel colors. For example, ‘Bandana Pink’ has beautiful pastel, tricolor blooms.
Lantana Montevidensis and Popular Cultivars
Lantana montevidensis – This is a low, spreading shrub with a dense growth habit; foliage consists of dark green oval-shaped leaves with ever blooming lavender flowers. Growing options? With support it can be trained as a small climber. You can also grow it to trail over a wall (see photo below) or as a ground cover. Size: 12-18″ high x 5-10′ wide. Flower color: Lavender.
Popular Lantana montevidensis varieties:
Lantana m. ‘Alba’ – Trailing. Flowers: white. Size: 2-3′ high x 6-8′ wide.
Lantana m. ‘New Gold’ – Low growing. Flowers: yellow and no fruit. Size: 2-3′ high x 6-8′ wide.
Lantana Camara Cultivars and Bandana Series
Popular Lantana camara varieties:
Lantana c. ‘Confetii’ – Multicolor Flowers: blend of pink, yellow and purple. Size: 2-3′ high x 6-8′ wide.
Lantana c. ‘Dallas Red’ – Flowers: Rich red color. Size 2-3′ tall.
Lantana c. ‘Radiation’ – Bicolor Flowers: rich orange-red. Size: 3-5′ high x 3-5′ wide.
Lantana c. ‘Luscious Berry Blend’ – Multicolor Flowers: blend of fuchsia, orange and yellow. Size: 2.5′ high x 2.5′ wide.
Lantana c. ‘Irene’ – Multicolor Flowers: blend of yellow, pink and red. Size: 2-3’ high x 4-5′ wide.
Bandana Series – Compact and floriferous, plants from this series are uniform growers with a nice mounding habit. Flowers in this series are larger than traditional lantana varieties. Some examples include: Lemon Zest, Cherry Sunrise, Bandana Red and Bandana Pink. Size:1-2
Some Benefits to Lantana in the Garden
- Ever blooming (in frost free areas)
- Drought tolerant
- Deer and gopher resistant
- Fire retardant
- Flower nectar enjoyed by butterflies, hummingbirds
- Easy care
- Heat and drought tolerant
Using Lantana in the Garden
- Hanging baskets
- Ground cover
- Mass planting
- Hillside/erosion control
- Sea coast
- Urban gardens