June 2022 Plant of the Month from our monthly newsletter:  Lantana

‚ÄčThe bright colors of Lantana evoke the memories of long, hot summer days in the Sacramento Valley. The colors seemed gaudy against the cool aqua pool. They were always surrounded by small yellow moths and bees. As my dad covered the pool for the winter, the lantana seemed to know their time of splendor was over and it was time to rest.

These mighty summer warriors like full sun and take little water unless they are treated as potted plants. I tend to pot up the special- colored varieties to allow for moving them for winter protection. I seldom am successful at keeping the plants from freezing in the garden. Lantana are considered an annual in my yard. I notice with envy the purple trailing variety ( Lantana montevidensis) that seems to survive our winter and become part of a permanent landscape plan. Maybe the trailers are hardier. There are many sizes available to meet your landscape needs.

Nowadays there are numerous color combos available, from bright to pastel. The flower heads are made up of many small tubular flowers of different color schemes. Interest is added as the 1-2 inch flower bundles change shades as they age. Trailers seem to be a solid color but still provide that constant summer color spot in the garden. The flowers turn to purple-black berries that are poisonous if ingested. Maybe the birds know this as I never see seedlings in the garden, unlike privet berries.

 Lantana seem to thrive on neglect but the garden appearance improves if they are pruned hard in the Spring and the dead wood is removed. This effort is rewarded by a tidy, compact shape. Fortunately, I have not had to deal with white flies or spider mites that might attack them.

I would encourage you to try lantana in your garden for color interest and as a pollinator. 

Submitted by Member and Club Treasurer Candice Boggs