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What is Lantana?

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  • Written By: Jacob Queen
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 05 October 2018
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There are several varieties of lantana. They are warm weather flowering shrubs that can survive with very little water and require very little care. Lantana is generally native to the hotter areas of the Americas and parts of Africa. The plants will normally grow very well in the southern part of the US, and in warmer areas, they can bloom all year. Lantana can be poisonous to livestock, and it's generally not advisable to plant it in areas with animals that might try to consume it.

In terms of appearance, lantana plants grow in bunches with colorful flowers and leaves. The stems are often prickly, especially in wild varieties. The plants produce a very small fruit that generally looks a lot like a berry, which birds are known to be fond of—they also help spread the seeds of the fruit. This popularity with birds can cause lantana to spread in unexpected ways, and it is not uncommon for the plant to go wild around a neighborhood. Lantana has a general tendency to grow pretty quickly, and it is usually important for individuals to plant it in small quantities, or it might become an invasive nuisance in someone’s lawn.

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If a person lives in an area with frosty winters, the plant will not survive very well during that part of the year, but it will usually return in the summer. Most people would describe the plant as a desert species, and it can handle very bad soil conditions with relative ease. Lantana also has no problem with full sunlight, even in very hot areas. Most experts recommend planting in early spring after the final frost, and it is usually a good idea to fertilize well with the initial planting.

Even though the plant has no problems with dry conditions, most experts recommend watering lantana pretty regularly for the best results. This may not be important if the area receives a reasonable amount of rain, but if it doesn’t, watering can be potentially helpful. Some varieties of the plant can grow 4- or 5-feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters) high, and some individuals may choose to trim them back occasionally.

Lantana is often used as a way to bring color to areas where a lot of maintenance isn’t desirable. An example would be around a person’s driveway or along the side of roadways. Some people also like to put it in hanging baskets because of its tendency to grow over the sides and hang in an attractive way.

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