Lantana is a sunny and changeable flower that can be grown as a garden plant, planter shrub, or as a home crop in a small pot. Catchy colors, a rich palette of its small flowers collected in spherical inflorescences, and a very long flowering contribute to the growth of lantana’s popularity and the expansion of the boundaries of its use in room interiors and landscape design. However, lantana can present some surprises to its owner, so a preliminary acquaintance with it will not be superfluous at all.
Description, features, photos
Lantana came to Europe from Central America, botanists attribute this flowering perennial to the Verbena family. It is a branched shrub with fast-growing erect stem shoots. It can grow up to 3 m in height and almost the same diameter. The base varieties are fast growing, but the modern hybrids bred grow slowly and are more modest in size.
The plant has a well-developed root system, which, in open ground conditions, goes into the deep layers of the soil. In tub and pot cultivation, this requires frequent transplants. A rapidly and randomly growing crown – its regular correction. The bark is smooth, light green in color, some species have small stem spikes.
The leaves are pubescent, short-petiolate, ovate, with a serrated edge. They grow alternately, arranged in a spiral. In some varieties, the leaf plate may have stripes of a lighter color along the edge. Glands are located in its thickness, through which essential oil protrudes to the surface of the leaf, exuding a peculiar pleasant smell, which is especially enhanced by rubbing.
Due to the fact that lantana tolerates pruning, its bushes can be given various shapes and height can be adjusted as desired.
The flowering period begins in May and covers the entire warm season until the beginning of autumn, while each flower lives no more than 3 days. Peduncles are taken out of the leaf axils at the tops of the shoots. The inflorescences are spherical, with small tubular flowers with an intense aroma. A characteristic feature of the plant is its ability to change the color of the inflorescences as they open, which looks very impressive, since this happens at different times for different buds. The transition of shades occurs from light tones to darker, more saturated ones. Thus, yellow lanthanum gradually becomes intense orange. If the petals immediately had an orange color, then by the end of flowering they can become burgundy red. Thus, flowering lantana always looks different.
After flowering, fruits are formed that are poisonous when unripe. Their toxic effect extends to both humans and animals.
Varieties of lanthanum with a photo
In the wild, the plant is represented by 1.5 hundred varieties, but there are only two options for home breeding. On their basis, many varietal series and hybrids have been obtained.
The main species used in culture. It is a perennial shrub of medium height (about 1.5 m) with erect or slightly curly stems, which at a young age have a grassy structure, and then gradually become woody. On the shoots there are small but sharp thorns. The foliage is rigid, rough in the lower part due to a small pile, oval-heart-shaped. Lantana Kamara blooms variably (changeably), like other types of culture. The tubular flowers gradually change their color from yellow or pink to orange or deep red. Also, lantana Kamara is described under the names Vaulted or Spiny. Based on this species, many ornamental varieties and hybrids have been bred.
More small-leaved species with shoots creeping along the ground. Spherical inflorescences also have a smaller size, no more than 3 cm in diameter. Their color is varied, but more often you can find flowers in pink-violet and lilac tones than white or yellow-orange. This species is grown less often than the Kamara lantana, but is no less valued for its decorative properties. Blooms a little later than her in early summer.
The best varieties with photos
- “Golden Cloud” – inflorescences in a yellow palette from light lemon to deep dark yellow.
- “Cocktail” – from yellow and orange, a transition is gradually made to red-terracotta.
- “Naida” is a variety in which breeders managed to move away from the innate monochrome of the flower. The buds are white in color with a light yellow center.
- “Pink Queen” – a very bright and contrasting transition from pale yellow to rich salmon color.
- ‘Aloha’ is a container growing variety with drooping ampelous shoots and variegated yellow leaves.
- ‘Miss Huff’ is a sterile hybrid that produces profuse orange-coral blooms without fruiting.
In Thailand, lantana is often grown as a stem tree.
Cultivation of lanthanum, care
The conditions and rules for growing this flower depend in part on whether it is grown as a crop, home or garden. At home, lantana also has two growing options – compact pot and tub. These two methods differ only in the choice of variety and molding. For growing lanthanum in a pot, you should choose dwarf undersized varieties. It is advisable to take a plant that is grown in a tub for the entire warm season outside, it needs a lot of fresh air and intense lighting, which is quite difficult to provide for a voluminous bush at home.
It is possible to grow lantana in open ground without providing a warm wintering indoors only in warm regions. In Russia, such territories are the Crimea and the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus.
Site selection, lighting
The culture is photophilous, so it is necessary to provide it with bright diffused light throughout the day. Partial shading is allowed. When grown outdoors, the soil should be light and moisture-absorbing, with a sufficient amount of humus.
In the summer, lantana feels comfortable in a fairly wide temperature range from + 18C to + 28C, but without sudden changes. In winter, the flower requires cool conditions of keeping no higher than + 16C, but not lower than + 6C.
Irrigation requirements are standard. It should be regular, but without stagnant water. When the earthy coma dries completely, the flower can drop all its buds. In winter, watering is reduced to a minimum and remains only at a maintenance level. But at the same time, the earth also should not dry out completely!
Lantana feels most comfortable in conditions of high humidity. Spraying is shown to her, but water should be avoided on the buds. A good effect is the installation of the pot on a pallet with wet claydite without direct contact of its bottom with water.
When grown outdoors, the plant is responsive to organic matter. In room culture, it is fed with mineral complexes intended for flowering plants. In this case, it is recommended to take half of the single dose indicated by the manufacturer.
Lantana is a perennial with a mild dormant period. It does not always shed leaves for the winter, but requires certain conditions for winter maintenance. They are provided with cooler temperatures, stop feeding and reduce watering to moderate maintenance. The place where the flower stands should still be light.
If lantana dropped its leaves for the winter, you should not be upset. Thus, she herself regulates the most comfortable state for her winter rest.
The plant is easy to mold, which is best started in the spring. Pruning will do him good, because the buds are formed at the tops of new shoots. Old shoots are recommended to be cut by about a third.
Reproduction of lanthanum
The plant can be grown from seeds or cuttings.
Shoots with still non-woody bark are suitable for cuttings. The best time to cut them is March or June. You can root cuttings in a light, moist substrate or in a jar of water. Cut shoots will easily root, usually taking about 3 weeks. Plants obtained from cuttings can bloom in the first year.
Growing lantana from seeds
Sowing seeds should be started at the end of winter, at this time they give the fastest germination and the strongest seedlings. The substrate should be light, drained, nutritious. The container is placed in a well-lit place and the temperature is maintained at least + 20C. Before the first shoots appear, you need to wait about 2 weeks. After the seedlings have grown about 10 cm, they can be planted in separate pots.
Diseases and pests
More than others, the culture is annoyed by the whitefly, a rare specimen manages to avoid this scourge. For preventive purposes, the flower should be wiped twice a month with a damp sponge, grabbing each leaf on both sides. In open ground conditions, this is quite difficult to do, so flower growers use the usual cockroach remedy, which does an excellent job with this pest. After processing, the crown of the bush is briefly tied with polyethylene, after which it is washed under a light warm shower. If a hose is used for this, its pressure should be minimal.
In addition to the whitefly, scale insects and spider mites can attack lantana in dry and hot rooms. To combat them, traditional insecticides are used.
Waterlogging threatens the plant with fungal diseases.
Interestingly , different people perceive the aroma of lanthanum essential oil ambiguously. Some feel it smells like cat urine, others like camphor mixed with mint and onions, others like it so much that they stuff bags with dry leaves and lay them out to scent rooms or linens in the closet.
Beautiful flowering weed
Surprisingly, in many southern countries, lantana is not only not grown for the sake of beauty, but they fight it with all available means. This is due to the rapid growth of this shrub and its aggressiveness towards neighboring plants. In India, it is called the “planters’ curse”, the landowners of Australia consider it one of their first enemies, and in Tanzania this flower is of great concern because its thickets are a breeding ground for malarial mosquitoes and tsetse flies no less dangerous to human health.