Pros: Well mannered, mound-shaped lantana, attracts butterflies
Cons: Perennial only in Zone 10 or warmer
In Texas lantana grow as tall shrubs and it’s easily found growing as a native plant among mixed shrubs. It’s highly visible thanks to the bright multi-colored inflorescence. Today, garden nurseries carry more than the native lantana – there are numerous cultivated lantana that resemble the natives but perform in a variety of ways. The Lucky Lemon Cream Lantana, while new to me, is earning my respect and appreciation, even if it is a seasonal annual.
This lemon-to-cream-colored mounding plant has manners; it doesn’t spread nor does it grow tall and shrubby. It attracts butterflies – they appear to know what to do with this plant even if it’s not a Texas native. Mine is planted in an out-of-the-way spot on the west side of the house where it receives minimal water (except for what falls from the sky). In less than two months the plants have already reached their maximum size of 14 by 14 inches. Clusters of lemon/cream flowers cover my three pants and have for a month without any fertilizing.
Instructions for Planting
Select a location that has at least six hours of sunlight. This tropical lantana will not survive temperatures below 30 degrees (Zone 10). In my part of the south I might have luck keeping this year round if I plant it in a sunny, protected spot, or in a container that could go inside during those rare freezing days. Our growing season is so long that this will bloom outside from February through November, perhaps even December.
Dig a hole twice the size of the pot and plant with the root ball’s top even with the ground’s surface. Fill with the soil you removed to prepare the hole and tamp the soil down; water the soil to settle it and cover with several inches of shredded mulch. You won’t need to water for at least a week unless your climate is exceptionally dry. As a general rule I’ve found that it’s best to wait until the soil is warm, not just free of frost, when planting this. Chances are good that you won’t find this lantana until local soil temperatures are sufficiently warmed. Gardeners in northern climates should consider planting this at the same time that you plant tomatoes.
Lantanas are no-sweat plants, they are easy for anyone to grow and everyone appreciates their qualities. The Lucky Lemon Cream Lantana needs minimal pruning to renew growth. It is recommended that weekly fertilization be provided since it’s such a prolific bloomer. Water this when the soil is dry. I’ve never had any problems with pests on my lantana and don’t expect any on this plant. Butterflies are not pests in my garden.
Lantana, both the annual and perennial, has proven itself time and time again as an excellent performer, especially for hot, dry, wet spots as well as containers and window boxes. Lantana not only produces prolific floral displays but it attracts butterflies and hummingbirds; it’s drought and heat tolerant but also performs in warm humid climates. When the word was official that we were returning to Texas I couldn’t wait to grow lantana year round – along with my native lantana I’ve adopted this exciting little cultivar.
Who Can Grow This?
In Illinois I grew lantanas along driveways and next to the road – areas with high exposure and lots of heat. Planted in mid-May they were easily three and four feet across by the first frost in October. This cultivar, the trademarked (which means we can’t propagate this plant) Lucky Lemon Cream Lantana, should present a stellar performance in hot sunny areas in the north and in the south, six hours of sunlight should be adequate. The dark green foliage and yellow/cream colored flowers will make an intriguing border but will also look great against three foot tall ornamental grasses. Anyone can grow this, novice and experienced gardeners, in a variety of soils and exposures. My neighbors are already envious and remarking about this cool mounding, easy-to-grow lantana.