Thursday, June 3, 2010

Why To Plant Lantana

Lantana is an under-appreciated plant where I live.  They are so prevalent and easy that "real" gardeners neglect them.  Don't fall into this trap!  If you live in the Deep South there is no better plant for butterflies and hummingbirds.  They come back every year from the roots, they bloom from early summer all the way till first frost, and they are absolutely maintenance free.  They seem to get no diseases and are nearly unkillable.  Also, they don't spread all over and take over an area - at least they never have for me.  The types I plant are the bushy type rather than the trailing types, but either works well.  Butterflies of all types are seen visiting this plant and hummingbirds also pass by frequently.  They have a citrus smell if you brush or bruise the leaves.  This first picture I have is of the old orange variety that I don't know the name of.  It gets pretty big and I cut it back occasionally to keep it smaller and to encourage more flowers.

This is a picture showing more of the bush.

This last picture is of the popular "Ham and Eggs" variety.  It grows just like the orange, but is more pink and yellow than orange. 

Don't think that lantanas don't have some drawbacks.  The black berries/seeds they produce are said to be poisonous.  Be sure to keep them away from children.  The leaves also cause itching on some people, so try not to rub against them if they irritate you.  Some people claim lantanas look weedy, but so does butterfly weed.  I like them and will always have some around to feed my favorite flying insects.


Becca's Dirt said...

I need to add them back into my gardens. I ripped them up last year as they completely took over an area.

Jeannie B. said...

I didn't realize they were poisonous. Must watch my dog. I love them. Good thing I am not a real gardener. I just like flowers!

Kathy Turner said...

I love the pictures of your garden and your love of the chaotic beauty of plants and of their dance with butterflies.
BUT I notice you have two plants - which are indeed spectacular - but which, at least in Australia, are highly invasive of natural bush and of farmlands - and a terrible menance when they get out of the garden - which they do with the greatest of ease!!! I'll add some links to how we see morning glory
lantana :


Davy Barr said...

Thanks for that input, Kathy. In my part of the world, lantana is not invasive. They are regularly planted by people everywhere but have yet to spread into the wild, for whatever reason. If you look more into my blog you will see that I only recommend Heavenly Blue morning glories which are a sterile hybrid and do not produce seeds or spread. Other types of morning glories are quite invasive and I don't recommend them.