There are over 150 species of lantana plant, and this means that you have a huge amount of lantana varieties to choose from when you shop. This plant is part of the verbena family, and it can be almost impossible to tell the verbena plant and different lantana varieties apart. However, these plants have very different care requirements and hardiness levels, so it’s important that you know you’ve bought a lantana variety over a verbena plant before you plant it. Gardeners have created dozens of hybrids of this plant, and it’s very popular because it has the ability to bloom all year-round in hot climates and showcase large, stunning flowers.
You’ll get clusters of flowers that attract a range of pollinators to your yard when they bloom like butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. Most lantana varieties are also very low-maintenance, and this makes them a great pick for novice gardeners. They can easily tolerate different soil conditions and drought. They can’t stand frost though. You can use them as ground cover, hedging, ornamentals, or in hanging baskets. If you’re interested in the different lantana varieties, read on.
1. Lantana Involucrata
Better known as Buttonsage, this lantana variety will produce small white flowers that are made up of white florets and a small touch of yellow-gold in the middle. This plant is native to the southern region of the United States, and it’s a medium-sized shrub that will grow to be four to eight feet high. It also spreads as wide as it does tall to fill in space. You’ll want to have rich soil, but it can do well in poor soil too. It works well as an ornamental plant ini your home because the flowers are extremely fragrant and showy. If you crush the leaves, they smell like sage. It will attract pollinators like butterflies to your garden in the spring throughout the summer months.
2. Lantana Camara
This is a lantana variety that grows as a small upright shrub. They can get up to six feet high at full maturity, and they’re another species that is native to the southern United States. It’s not one of the most available plants around, but you can find it. It has a very rapid growth rate that will get up to five feet tall in a single season, and you’ll have to trim it to keep it looking neat. It’s toxic to livestock and pets. It produces very bright and large flowers that come in vivid oranges, deep reds, sunny yellows, and soft coral. Plant it in a rich soil that you added ground compost to, water it regularly, and allow it to have full sun for at least four hours a day.
3. Bandana Cherry Lantana
This lantana variety comes with bold red coloring that resembles a cherry. The cherry-red florets feature an outer ring that has shades of orange and pink on them, and they can also have touches of yellow. The flowers measure around two inches across, and this makes for an absolutely stunning look when you showcase it against the darker green foliage. This is a lower-growing plant that you can put in a larger garden container or in your flower beds. It needs rich soil that drains very well, and it does best in full sun to partial shade. Allow it to get slightly dry between watering sessions, and enjoy the sweet fragrance and eye-catching display these varieties puts on all summer.
4. Lantana Motevidensis
Better known as trailing lantana, this lantana variety is a very low-growing, spreading shrub. It only gets 18 inches tall, and so this makes it an excellent height for any rock gardens or walls. However, it’ll spread out an impressive 5 to 10 feet. This lantana variety only has purple flowers in varying hues, and some have a single white point in the center. If you have support for your plant, it’ll grow up and climb along whatever you put it against. It likes well-drained soil, and it can survive very well in a host of different soil conditions without a problem. You do need to water it routinely, and it should be in a place that gets full sun to support the plant’s spread and climbing nature.
5. Lantana Horrida
If you’re not afraid of plants with a very strong and pungent scent, this lantana variety is the one for you. It’s very common in Mexico, the West Indies, and in South America where you can find it growing in grasslands, forests, mountains, and in savannas. It’s a cold-hardy species that will bloom excessively through the fall and summer months in Texas. It’ll get around a foot tall at full maturity and produce blooms in yellow, orange, red, white, and purple. The black-blue buds are poisonous. It’ll need a well-draining soil, and it does best if you enrich it. Keep it in a sunny location that is protected from the wind, and it works very well as an ornamental flower along your pathways or in your flower beds.
6. Lantana Trifolia
Better known as Popcorn Lantana, this particular lantana variety makes a great addition to your raised garden beds. It will grow up to three feet high and wide, and it gets specially cultivated for the ornamental fruits it produces in the late summer months. You can divide this plant into two categories, including Lavender Popcorn and Fruity Pebbles that feature elongated purple and bright pink fruit clusters. It’s native to South and Central America, so it does best in any sub-tropical regions. The plant’s leaves grow in groups of threes with darker coloring, and it likes rich soil with full sun. However, it can do well in sandy or pool soil conditions as long as you water it regularly.
7. Lantana Urticoides
You can find this lantana variety under the name West Indian Shrub or Calico Bush. It’ll grow between three and five feet high at full maturity, and you’ll find it growing wild in areas of Texas, Mexico, Louisiana, Mississippi, and other areas on the Gulf coast. This plant will start to bloom in the spring and go until the first frost, and it’ll produce orange, red, and yellow florets for flowers that come in a tubular shape. The leaves grow in the opposite directions in pairs, and this is a spreading shrub that has nettle-like growth. It’s poisonous to pets and anyone who eats it. Keep it in an area where the soil drains well but keep it evenly moist, and make sure it gets plenty of sun.
8. Pink Dawn Lantana
The soft pastel-pink shades on this lantana variety makes it a nice spring addition to your container garden or patio. This plant is a very compact, low-growing shrub that offers pale yellow and creamy pink flowers throughout the summer months. The flowers will develop a pastel pink tint as the season goes on if you plant them in a palace that gets full sun to partia shade. They also need a very rich soil that drains very well between watering sessions, and the soil should dry out just slightly to encourage healthy roots and reduce the chances of developing root rot. They make gorgeous cut flowers.
9. Banana Pink Lantana
For those people who want a more dramatic lantana variety in their yard or garden, try Banana Pink. You’ll get stout and short clusters of baby pink flowers that slowly change to a deep pink with yellow and orange coloring. They only grow a few high at full maturity, and they can spread as wide as they grow high. They can do well in all different soil types, but they like a richer soil that will drain the water away after you give them a drink. You should keep them in full to partial sun, and they have deeper green foliage that helps set off the flower colors even more.
10. Pot of Gold Lantana
The name is the perfect description for this lantana variety,and it has bright yellow flowers. It can get up to 15-inches tall by 15-inches wide, and it has only bright yellow florets. This makes it unique from many of the lantanas on the list. It’ll bloom in the summer and into the fall, and it does wonderfully small baskets or as a companion plant in a pot or bed. The deep green foliage set the color off even more, and it’ll grow best in very rich but well-draining soil. Also, situate it in a place where it’ll get a good amount of sunlight every day. It likes heat, and it’s not cold-hardy.
11. Lantana Pastazensis
This is another flowering lantana variety that is very rare outside of Ecuador. It’s restricted to its original areas, and it grows in the lowlands of tropical forests. It produces white flowers with yellow centers, and it has deeper green foliage to help set it off. It will require full sun and rich soil, but it also needs a decent amount of humidity to thrive. I wouldn’t recommend growing this lantana variety in your garden or around your home because it is toxic to humans. It contains pentacyclic terpenoids, and these are toxic if you get it on your skin.
12. Lantana Camara
Common lantana is one of the most widely cultivated lantana varieties available, and it’s very difficult to find one that isn’t a hybrid. This is a smaller perennial shrub that grows upright. It likes very dry and hot climates, but you can keep it as an annual if you live in cooler climates. It does best in zones 9 and 10, and the flowers will bloom from spring to fall. It has orange, yellow, and red flowers that bloom in clusters, and they’ll grow rapidly in summer. They like dry soil and they’re very drought-tolerant, and this makes them excellent for novice gardeners or people who live in desert climates.
13. Lantana Depressa
This lantana variety will only grow one to two feet tall, but it can easily spread three to four feet across at full maturity. It will produce orange and yellow blooms, and they can bloom all year-round in warmer climates that don’t get below freezing. They’ll produce a golden-yellow flower with an orange or white center, and they like very dry sandy soil enriched with organic matter. They have slightly hairy leaves, and it is a very drought-tolerant species. It likes hot and dry environments, and it needs to have an alkaline soil to flourish. You’ll get a very light fragrance with this plant.
14. Lantana Strigose
This lantana variety has leaves that feel slightly rough and hairy to the touch, and it produces a show of flower clusters that look almost identical to the ones you’ll find on the Common Lantana plant. This is why so many people can confuse them. This is another plant that likes slightly sandy alkaline soil, and they’re very tolerant of drought once they get established. They don’t like a lot of water as a general rule, but they love a lot of direct, bright sunlight every day. You’ll get showy flowers in purple, pink, orange, red, yellow, and more from the early spring months into the fall months until the first frost. They can bloom all year-round in warmer regions.
Care Tips for Different Lantana Varieties
To get the most out of your different lantana varieties, you’ll need to know a few quick care tips and general rules that go along with this plant. Doing so will tell you whether or not it’s possible to grow them outdoors where you are, and you may have to consider moving them inside or picking a different plant.
Anywhere in the United States, most lantana varieties do best if you plant them in hardiness zone seven and up. Doing so will ensure that it can bloom all year-round. If you live in a planting zone below seven, you’ll treat it like an annual when the frost hits. Since it has such bright and cheerful flowers and blooming period that stretches into months, it’s a very popular houseplant. You want to bring it indoors if you have it ijn a container when the temperatures dip below 50°F to protect it from freezing.
Preferred Soil Conditions
This plant likes well-drained soil that is consistently most and slightly acidic. However, they can also grow very well in dry conditions. They won’t live long if you don’t have good drainage because the roots will rot. They do very well in pots as long as they have a moisture source like a self-watering system. You can set the pot on a tray of pebbles with water to increase the humidity directly around the plant. Once a year or twice a year, add compost to the soil to enrich it and give your lantana varieties a boost.
This plant thrives in bright, direct sunlight. Ideally, they’ll have direct sun for at least six hours every day. This will help them support their flower growth. They do like a touch of afternoon shade when the sun is the hottest, so you can put them in an area that gets partial shade. Also, if you grow them indoors, turn the plant once a week so it doesn’t start reaching or leaning toward the light.
You’ll usually see different lantana varieties in garden stores or nurseries in the very early summer months before they bloom. Once they start to flower, the blooms should easily last until the first frost date in the early fall months. If you plant them in zones seven and up, you’ll enjoy the colorful flower clusters well into the later winter months. You do want to heavily mulch around the plant to help it survive any prolonged freezes your areas get and ensure it stays healthy.
Why Lantana Varieties are Popular in Landscaping
Many people love using different lantana varieties in their landscaping projects, including xeriscaping because they’re relatively low-maintenance. You can plant the smaller versions of this plant along your walkways or they do well in containers. If you plant the trailing lantana varieties, they make excellent plants for your containers or hanging baskets. This is especially true when you plant them with bright green sweet potato vines. If you pick out the shrub lantana variety, you can add them throughout your landscape design to add bold pops of color and foliage. They work very well to fill in corner spots, and they can do very well with most landscape plantings.
If you’re ambitious, you can create a lantana tree. To do this, you’ll have to start your shrub in the early spring months and start pruning it as soon as you see new growth. You want to support the stem with a sturdy bamboo stick until the plant can stand up by itself. With continuous pruning and careful transplanting, it’ll eventually form a tree shape with blooms. If you bring it indoors during the fall months, it’ll bloom throughout the winter for you and you can easily bring it back outdoors in the spring.
Lantana varieties can add pops of color and interest to your yard or garden. I’ve outlined 14 different kinds for you to consider and showed you pictures so you can get a good feel for what they’d look like when they start to bloom. You can decide which ones would look best for you, and you can incorporate them into your next landscape design to enjoy the showy blooms all year-round.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.