All of us need plants which will continue to provide us lovely color and flowers even when it is miserably hot. So if you are trying to find a summer annual with lots of color and toughness, look no further than the lantana. They are part of the verbena family and provide numerous beautiful small flowers which start blooming once it gets warm and continue through the fall until first frost.
These fabulous plants come in a huge array of colors and color combinations now, some new varietals grow to a very lovely round and tidy shrub shape that can be used in a more conservative garden. You can find them at most garden centers and big box stores but Nature’s Friends Landscaping has access to some special types available to the trade and would be happy to place them into your landscape.
Lantana generally are provided in a four inch pot or bigger so they can immediately make a splash in your garden. They like soils which drain well, but once they are established they can survive in the hot, sunny spots with just a weekly soaking. Fertilizer is really not necessary and may even inhibit blooming, but if you’re using a garden hose type water based fertilizer on other plants nearby it won’t hurt them. They also are really pretty in pots so you have an option for potting them or placing them directly into the garden.
Removing spent blooms will help extend blooming time, in the Deep South they can be a perennial so if they are overgrown and need pruning it’s ok to take them back by a third. Berries will develop after the blooms and these are attractive to certain birds. Butterflies and hummingbirds love these plants so if you want lots of action and movement plant sweeps of lantana!