If there’s one flowering plant that we always enjoy planting, that would be the lantana. It’s a fragrant, colorful plant that can liven up any garden while also attracting wonderful pollinators such as butterflies and bees. Aside from that, we also like that it can grow rapidly outdoors to provide ground cover, thrive indoors, and even move around as you wish if they’re in pots.
It is very convenient to grow lantana in pots. They will require a little bit more care, though. That’s why in this article, we are going to share with you everything you need to know on how to care for lantana in pots.
We are going to discuss the most common varieties of lantana plants that you can grow, discuss the main aspects of caring for a lantana plant, and finally, answer some of the most frequently asked questions we get from our readers about basic lantana care. Let’s get started!
The Lantana Plant: Plant Overview
Lantana is a genus belonging to the verbena family. Native to tropical America and Africa, there are more than 150 species of lantana plants, with the most popular being Lantana camara (or the common lantana).
Three Main Types of Lantana Plants
Can’t decide which variety of lantana to grow? Lantana plants can actually be categorized into three types. You can start from here.
This is the most common type. These lantana plants grow in upright shrubs that can achieve heights of up to six feet. Some of the benefits of shrub lantanas are first, they are beginner-friendly; second, they grow faster compared to other types; and third, they are available in a rich selection of bright color combinations. These include flowers of yellow and orange, soft orange and fuschia, and red and coral pink.
Lantana is not a vine, but there are varieties that follow a trailing growth pattern. When unsupported and just left to grow on the ground, they can reach up to ten feet in width. They make an excellent ground cover. Unlike the previously colorful type, though, trailing lantanas only come in purplish hues with a hint of lavender-white in the center of each bloom.
Finally, there are lantana plants that are grown not just for their cluster of blooms, but because of their ornamental fruits. Popcorn lantana fruit batches look like adorable mini grapes or berries. This is the reason why its cultivars are known for practically delicious names such as Lavender Popcorn or Fruity Pebbles.
How to Care for Lantana in Pots
Once you’ve chosen the variety you want to grow, here are the major aspects of lantana care to keep in mind:
Since lantanas are tropical plants, it shouldn’t really come as a great surprise that they love full sun. Wherever you may choose to grow your lantana, it should be a spot that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight every day. You can also move your pots indoors. Just make sure that they’ll still be able to bask in the sunlight. If you live in a hot area, then your lantanas will be able to tolerate partial shade as well. If not, then they’ll still be able to survive but don’t expect them to flower as much.
One of the characteristics that make this plant low-maintenance is its drought tolerance. In fact, your lantana plant will require less and less watering as it gets more established and adapted to the growing environment you’ve provided.
Adult plants will only require watering once a week. At the very least, you should allow the soil to completely dry before watering your plant again. This will prevent mold and mildew growth. Aside from that, we also highly recommend keeping its leaves and flowers dry to prevent disease. Instead, water its soil directly.
Young plants, especially during the heat of summer, will require more watering.
Temperature and Humidity
Lantana plants love heat, and thus won’t survive temperatures below 28°F. That being said, there is a chance that they won’t overwinter when they’re planted directly onto the ground. Potted lantana plants will require you to move them indoors, though. Preferably in a warm spot (with an ideal temperature of around 50°F) that still gets a lot of bright, albeit indirect, sunlight.
Lantanas love high or moderately humid environments as well. Hence, potted lantanas, especially those indoors might require a humidifier in order to thrive. This will simulate the humidity level of its tropical environment.
Another factor that we love about lantanas is that they don’t require any type of special soil mix. Instead, they can thrive in most soil types as long as they are well-draining and have neutral pH levels.
You can get away with fertilizing lantana plants once every three months if they’re planted on the ground. However, potted lantanas will require more nutrients than that. We recommend using a water-soluble fertilizer once a month.
Here’s an extra tip: It is possible to overfertilize a lantana plant. To prevent this, we advise a thorough watering session after fertilizing. This will allow your fertilizer to spread evenly and prevent scorching. Aside from that, overfertilizing will also lead to a weaker plant with fewer leaves.
The right size of your container will largely depend on your chosen variety. For instance, there are dwarf lantanas that only grow up to 15 to 17 inches. Meanwhile, other varieties may reach up as high as six feet.
Whatever the case, though, it will always be more preferable to get a bigger pot than you expect to need. This will prevent your plant from becoming rootbound. Just make sure that your chosen container has good drainage.
Pruning and Deadheading
It is ideal to remove faded flowers. Doing so will allow your plant to divert its energy to further growth and flowering instead of developing seeds. Meanwhile, if you’re going to do a full pruning, then we recommend doing so in the spring. This will increase the density of its flowers. You can prune your plants by pinching them or by using a pair of clean and sharp scissors.
Pests and Diseases
You don’t have to worry about diseases and pests, especially if you’re growing your lantana plants indoors. First, it is resistant to most diseases. On the other hand, it can attract aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites when grown outdoors. You can minimize this by moving your pot indoors一beyond these pests’ reach.
Finally, if you’re really planning to grow your potted lantanas indoors, then we simply can’t finish this guide without warning you that this plant has toxic compounds that can prove lethal when ingested. Hence, make sure to place your pots beyond the reach of children, pets, and livestock.
Caring for Potted Lantana Plants
Planting your lantanas outdoors, directly into the soil, in the sunniest part of your garden is the best way to grow them. However, this doesn’t mean that they won’t reach their full potential in a pot. As long as you follow the tips we have provided on how to care for lantana in pots, we are confident that you’ll be able to bring the fun and color of your lantanas anywhere you wish一even inside your home!