When it comes to landscaping, a little good advice goes a long way. Though hardy Lantana plants are very easy to grow and care for, the helpful planting and care tips below will have you growing them like the pros. 


Here's a breakdown of what you need to know...


Cultural Preferences



Soil Preferences

Lantana are not too picky about soil type. They prefer a well-drained loose to sandy soil of average fertility, however will tolerate infertile soils. As with so many other perennial plants, constantly soggy or wet soil can cause root rot and other harmful plant diseases. So make sure to plant them in well-drained soil!


Testing Soil Drainage

If you are uncertain about soil drainage in the area you intend to plant, it's well worth taking the time to test the drainage before planting. 

To test soil drainage, dig a hole 12" wide by 12" deep in the planting area. Fill the hole with water and let it drain. Then, after it drains, fill it with water again, but this time clock how long it takes to drain. In well-drained soil the water level will go down at a rate of about 1 inch an hour. A faster rate, such as in loose, sandy soil, may signal potentially dry site conditions and possibly a need to add some moisture retentive organic matter. A slower rate indicates poor draining soil and is a caution you need to improve drainage, plant in a raised mound or bed, or look for plants that are more tolerant of wet or boggy conditions.


Soil pH

Lantana grows and flowers best in an acid to slightly acid soil ranging between 5.5 to 6.5 on the pH scale. Most average garden soils fall between a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. 


Testing Soil pH  

Soil pH is a measurement of the alkalinity or acidity of soil and is measured on a scale of 1-14, with 7 as the neutral mark. Any measurement below 7 indicates acid soil conditions, and anything above 7 indicates alkaline. 

If you're unsure about the pH of your soil, or whether or not it's suitable for growing a Lantana, it's a good idea to test the soil pH in the planting area. You can quickly test soil pH with an inexpensive soil pH tester probe. To raise the pH (make more alkaline) you can add pelletized limestone to the soil. To lower the pH (make more acid) you can apply Soil SulfurAluminum Sulfate, or Chelated Iron. Adding organic compost to the soil or using compost as mulch can also help to increase acidity and maintain acid soil conditions. 




Light Preferences

Full to mostly sun will produce the most flowers throughout the long flowering season (June to Frost). We suggest 7 hours of direct sunlight per day for best performance.




How To Plant A Hardy Lantana

Scroll down for container planting instructions and care tips


Step 1

Start by digging your planting hole at least two to three times as wide and no deeper than the root ball of your Lanatna plant. The wider the hole the better. Place native soil removed from planting hole around the perimeter of the hole, in a wheel barrow, or on a tarp.


Step 2

Depending on the type, fertility and porosity of the soil in the planting area you might need to amend the native soil. When planting in dense clay or very poor soil it is beneficial to thoroughly mix in some good organic matter such as bagged top soil, sand and/or small gravel at a 50/50 ratio with the soil. 


Step 3

To remove your Lantana from the container it was growing in first squeeze the sides of the container to looseen the root ball. Then grasp the base of the plant with your finger tips and try to very gently lift and remove the plant from its container. Be very careful not to damage your plant when removing it from the container! If the root ball is stuck in the container use snips or a utility knife to cut the container away. After having removed the plant from the container, gently loosen some feeder roots around the surface of the root ball.


Step 4

Set your Lantana in the planting hole so that the top edge of the root ball is at or slightly above ground level to allow for settling. If necessary, add some backfill soil mixture to the bottom of the hole to achieve proper planting height. 

Note:  If the soil in the planting area is poorly drained (constantly soggy or wet) improve drainage or select a different plant species more tolerant of wet soils.



Step 5

After setting your plant in the planting hole, use one hand to hold the plant straight and your other hand to begin back-filling your soil mixture around the root ball, tamping as you go to remove air pockets. When you have filled the hole to the halfway point you can soak the soil. Then continue back-filling to the top edge of the root ball. To avoid suffocating your plant, avoid placing any soil on top of the root ball.


Step 6 (Optional)

When planting far from a water source, you can use remaining soil mixture to build a 2-inch high water retaining berm (catch basin / doughnut) around the outside perimeter of the planting hole. This basin will help to collect water from rainfall and irrigation often reducing the need for hand-watering. The berm can be removed after a growing season or when the plant has established itself.


Step 7 

Next, deeply water the planting area, including the root ball, to a depth equal to the height of the root ball. For an extra boost, to stimulate early root formation and stronger root development you can also water you new plant with a solution of Root Stimulator, which reduces transplant shock and promotes greener, more vigorous plants.


Step 8

To conserve moisture and to suppress weed growth, spread a 1- to 2-inch layer of shredded or chipped wood mulch or pine straw around the planting area. As the mulch decomposes it will add vital nutrients to the soil that your plants will appreciate. Avoid using freshly chipped or shredded wood for mulch until it has cured in a pile for at least 6 months, a year is better. Avoid placing or piling mulch directly against the base of your plant as this could cause the bark to rot.




How To Plant Lantana In A Container


When growing in pots, Lantana appreciate a consistently moist but well-drained soil. Constantly soggy soil can and often will cause root rot or other harmful or deadly plant diseases. Therefore, I suggest using a quality potting soil or potting mix, or a 50/50 combination thereof and a pot that has a drainage hole(s). You can add 10 to 20% pumis or Perlite to the soil mixture to enhance drainage. 

As mentioned, make sure to choose a container with a drainage hole(s) at the bottom and one that is large enough to allow for 2 to 3 years of growth before shifting up to a larger size container. This might mean your planting pot would be 8 inches or more in width than the root ball of your plant. 

Container color will matter as well. Not only will you want to pick a color of container that goes well with the flower and foliage color of your Lantana plant, you'll also want to pick a container that matches the style of your home or other structures and other plants in the surrounding environment. 

Many nursery & garden centers offer a wide variety of containers to choose from. Before heading out to buy a container take pictures of your home and the surrounding environment. Doing so will help you to choose just the right color and style.


Container Planting Instructions

Step 1

Before filling your container with the soil mix, I suggest lining the bottom with shade cloth or a porous landscape fabric. This will keep the drain holes from becoming stopped up with soil. If you aplace gravel or other material in the bottom of the pot lay the fabric over it.


Step 2

To remove your Lantana from the container it was growing in first squeeze the sides of the container to looseen the root ball. Then grasp the base of the plant with your finger tips and try to very gently lift and remove the plant from its container. Be very careful not to damage your plant when removing it from the container! If the root ball is stuck in the container use snips or a utility knife to cut the container away. After having removed the plant from the container, gently loosen some feeder roots around the surface of the root ball.


Step 3

Pour a small amount of your soil mixture in the bottom of the container. Set the plant in your container and make necessary adjustments by adding or removing some soil so that the top edge of the root ball will sit 1/2 to 1" below the rim of the container.



Step 4

Backfill with your potting soil around root ball, tamping as you go, until the level of potting soil is even with the top edge of root ball.


Step 5

Water thoroughly until water starts to drain from the holes in the bottom of the container. Add more potting mix if settling occurs during watering.


Step 6 (Optional)

Apply a 1/2" layer of wood chips or sphagnum moss to soil surface to help conserve moisture. 






How To Grow and Care for a Lantana

Feeding - Watering - Pruning


How To Fertilize A Lantana

Lantana are light feeders however will benefit from fertilization.

In The Ground -  Feed Lantana plants growing in the ground in early spring at rates suggested on the product label with a flower fertilizer or a natural or organic plant food. To avoid stimulating new growth that could be damaged by an early frost, cease fertilization two months prior to the first frost date in your area.

In Containers - Feed Lantana plants growing in containers with a water soluble liquid plant food at half the strength as suggested on the product label.  


Soil pH - Lantana grow best in an acid to slightly acid soil ranging from 5.5 to 8.5 on the pH scale. Most average garden soils fall between a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. 




How To Water A Lantana Plant


Lantana are exceptionally drought tolerant shrubs. That said, will require some water to become established. As with so many other perennial plants, they do not like constantly soggy soil, which can lead to root rot and other plant diseases. So be careful not to overwater them!

Tip:  When watering with an automated irrigation system it's best to set your timer to water during the early morning hours and not in the late evening or at night, which can lead to the onset of fungus and other foliar diseases. During the first few weeks after planting, check soil moisture often and adjust irrigation time if necessary to keep the soil moist, not wet. 


At Planting Time 

Immediately after planting deep soak the soil in the planting area, including the rootball, to a depth equal to the height of the root ball. For an extra boost, you can water your newly planted Lantana with a solution of Root Stimulator, which stimulates early root formation and stronger root development. Root Stimulator reduces plant shock and promotes greener, more vigorous plants.


During the First Active Growth Season

In average garden soil you should not have to water your newly planted Lantana every day. More often than not, this causes soggy soil conditions that can lead to root rot and other plant diseases. In the absence of sufficient rainfall, water only as needed to keep the root ball and surrounding soil damp to moist. 

Keep in mind that deep soaking less frequently is much better than splashing just a little water on the plants every day. Perennials planted during the winter dormant season, when plants are not actively growing and evaporation is much slower, will require much less water. So, be extra careful not to overwater during winter!


Thereafter

When established, Lantana are very drought tolerant plants. Only during a lengthy summer drought will plants ever require supplemental irrigation. If you see leaves wilting or curling during a drought this could be an indicator that your plants could use a good deep soaking. Be sure to check soil moisture before watering.




How To Prune A Lantana


Important Pruning Tip! Avoid pruning hardy Lantana plants in the fall as this will almost always ensure death of the plant. Wait to prune until new growth begins to emerge in spring. At this time, you can use your bypass hand pruners to cut the dead stems back to just above the point of green growth. 

A mid-summer shearing of a Lantana plant is okay encourage heavier flowering through the fall season. However, cease pruning 2 months prior to the average first frost date in your area. Here in north central Georgia that means mid to late August.


Deadheading During the Active Growth Season

No, this has nothing to do with following a rock band around the country on their nationwide tour:-) Deadheading is a simple task which takes only a few minutes. After a flower cluster has faded, Lantana will produce a seed cluster. If you remove the spent flower before the seed cluster forms this will encourage a more dense plant, more new growth, and heavier flowering. 

If you've never dead-headed before here's how to go about it: Simply remove the spent flower from the plant with a quick snip from your bypass hand pruners. When doing this try to remove just the spent flower and its stem leaving the new buds beneath intact.

 



Related Articles





Plant Long & Prosper!

Questions? Contact Us