Friday, January 7, 2011


Texas Lantana, Lantana
Lantana urticoides (L. horrida)

Verbenaceae family

A stalwart in Texas landscapes,Texas lantana grows in various types of soils throughout the state, most abundantly along the coast, and also in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Mexico. It is a low, spreading shrub with rough and aromatic leaves. It grows best in poor, sandy, gravelly soils in hot, dry areas, in full sun or light shade. In all but the very southern part of the state its branches die back in winter and emerge again in spring. Where it does not die back, its stems should be cut back after frost and periodically during the growing season, both to keep it compact and because it flowers on new wood. Lantana flowers profusely with the start of hot weather, in mid- to late summer, with small red, yellow and orange flowers clumped together in clusters. Although its leaves are poisonous to livestock and humans, its nectar is a favorite of butterflies, and many birds eat the fruit. Lantana is the choice for those sites in full sun that are neglected or too far from the hose. Once established, it takes virtually no care except trimming back, and flowers consistently from mid-summer on, always attracting butterflies.

The above information is taken from the aggie horticulture web listing and is very informative....many horticulturists do not favor lantana as they believe it can be an invasive weed. See comments below:

"In some regions, Texas included, lantanas are troublesome weeds, chiefly spread by birds that are very fond of their juicy fruits. The species name, horrida, refers to the pungent, unpleasant odor of the crushed leaves and the "out-of-control" weed potential of the plant." (taken from Texas Super Star Plants) Florida especially has listed one species of Lantana as a invasive and not to be planted... that would be Lantana camara , not the species we would be planting here. Okay now that I have scared the stuffing out of you and you vow never to plant this beautiful plant again, take heart the Lantana urticoides which we are planting around this part of Texas has been a staple in our color beds for as long as I have been planting. Before moving on to my favorite lantana here are some more interesting facts about the plant

European interest in New World lantanas was first excited by their reputed medicinal virtues. Spanish colonists used the camaras, as they called them, to make infusions to be taken as medicine and used in baths. In some places such infusions are still used medicinally. The plant is poisonous to cattle and sheep, though usually not browsed by them. A decoction of the leaves has been used in Mexico... as a tonic for the stomach. In Sinaloa the plant is a favorite remedy for snake bites. A strong decoction of the leaves is taken internally and a poultice of crushed leaves applied to the wound. (Texas Super Star Plant website)

Okay just a little history on some of the various species, of all the lantanas my favorite is "Confetti" I love the blend of pinks, yellows and lite reds that make up the flower. Each year after the first freeze, I cut them to the ground and the next spring I eagerly await the plants as they push up through the mulch... once the temperatures  hit the high 80's they begin the bloom cycle and the hotter it gets the better they like it.  I planted a cultivar named "Kimberly" while gardening with my first daughter when she was still very young, each year we were blessed with an outstanding display of  pink, yellow, and lite red blooms. When the plant started its bloom cycle each year, my daughter would excitedly run through the house telling us all her flowers were here. Many years later she is still planting verbenas and latanas, but now with her young is that not cool or what!!!!!

Plant Habit or Use: small shrub medium shrub
Exposure: sun partial sun
Flower Color: yellow, orange, red
Blooming Period: summer fall
Fruit Characteristics: black drupe with 2 nutlets
Height: 2 to 6 feet
Width: 2 to 6 feet
Plant Character: deciduous
Heat Tolerance: very high
Water Requirements: Water in to establish, then low afterwards
Soil Requirements: adaptable
USDA Hardiness Zone: 8

(Information in part from Aggie-Horticulture...Thank You Very Much)

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