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Lantana Love

Lantanas, with vibrant hued petals and ability to thrive under the hot sun, are showy summer superstars in the garden and a great flower to start with for novice gardeners.

The lantana plant is part of the verbena family, with more than 150 varieties. The plant has delicate little petals clustered together and come in a multitude of colors, with red, pink, orange, yellow and purple the most frequently seen varieties.

Lantanas like sun and grow best when planted in an area that gets six hours or more of sunshine, even when the temperatures begin to soar. Even though the plant does best in summer, it’s hardy enough to weather the different seasons. Once the weather turns chilly, lantanas will die back, but a pruning in early spring will see it bounce right back with hearty blooms.

Lantanas grow well in pots, hanging containers and in the ground, meaning the plants grant gardeners lots of options for landscaping and design. Trailing lantana grows to about 18 to 24 inches tall and can spread out to four feet. Shrub lantana grows to around four feet tall and spreads out from one to three feet.

Newly planted lantana should be watered on a frequent basis, but once established the plant will need far less watering and very little maintenance. Lantanas only need to be fertilized once a year, usually in the spring. Cutting off the spent flowers will encourage reblooming. Lantanas like slightly acidic soil, so adding a pine needle mulch will help keep the bright blooms thriving.

An added benefit of a lantana plant is that it’s a great attractor of butterflies and hummingbirds, which are welcome additions to any garden.