Plant Description

Lantana camara cultivars

Lantana cultivar in the garden of Margaret Chedra in Sydney

Though the very word 'Lantana' strikes fear into most gardeners' hearts, there are some cultivars that are well-behaved ornamental shrubs that won't spread throughout your garden like the scary, wild, weedy ones. Lantana belongs to the Verbenaceae family of plants and the clustered heads of tiny flowers do resemble miniature versions of Verbena. The cultivars generally grow between 1 and 2 m in height, and they are sterile so they don't set seed. The flowers come in hues of yellow, cream, red, orange and white, and they appear over a very long time period from late spring until autumn. There are various named cultivars, such as 'Chelsea Gem' (orange flowers), 'Drap d'Or' (yellow flowers) and 'Snowflake' (white blooms). The original Lantana camara hails from Central America.

The plants do best in fertile, well-drained soil and full sun, though I have a couple that seem to still bloom quite well in part-shade and in very ordinary soil! Too much water will produce fewer flowers and more foliage. They are frost sensitive. They can be trained to a standard form on a single stem. They can be pruned very hard in late autumn (early spring in cold-winter areas). Cuttings strike readily in the warmer months. Note that contact with the foliage can cause skin irritation and all parts of the plant are toxic if eaten. The leaves have a rather unpleasant smell.


Lantana camara cultivars
Out now in my Sydney garden.
Flowers from October to May.
Plant Family: Verbenaceae

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