Red Hot Lantana
Host: Gary Bachman, Ornamental Horticulture Specialist
When looking for hot summer plants consider some of the new lantana today on Southern Gardening.
The summer temperatures are heating up and gardeners want flowering plants that stand up to the conditions. Last week I visited the Mississippi State University’s Truck Crops Experiment Station was amazed at red-hot summer lantana trials. When you’re looking for a tough summer plant that tolerates the summer temperatures it’s hard to beat lantana. Lantana is available in a variety of sizes and colors. There are new lantana varieties being introduced every year. Lantana are native to the New World and are related to verbena, in fact they are sometimes called shrub verbena. Desert Sunset will grow up to 42 inches tall. The flowers are a wonderful combination of yellow, gold, and peach. Another attractive variety is Lucky Sunrise Rose with its pink and white flowers with yellow throats that contrasts well with the dark green foliage. This plant has a upright and mounded growth habit and is well-mannered through the season. The Luscious series features colorful selections of Citrus Blend, Grape, Tropical Fruit, and Lemonade. Luscious Lemonade is really exciting because it has a spreading habit and will be a great selection for use as a ground cover. Lantanas also are excellent when used in the butterfly and hummingbird garden. The small funnel shaped flowers hold the sugary nectar these garden entertainers are looking for. Be sure to feed with water soluble fertilizer once a month to keep the flowers blooming.
Lantana should be planted in the full sun for best flowering performance. During the summer lantana flower colors will make your landscape pop. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.