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in Tucson, Phoenix,
Arizona and California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and California

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Growing Lantana camara: Lantana

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Description
Form: Shrub.
Leaf retention: Evergreen but frost-deciduous.
Growth rate: Rapid.
Mature Size: Normally 2-4' high and wide. Can grow to 6' high.
Flowers: Small tubular flowers are clustered into hemispheres of various colors. After pollination, the color of each individual flower fades, often from red to orange, then yellow. This helps pollinators locate the flowers that still have nectar and need pollination. Pastel colored and solid gold hybrids are common.
Bloom: Mid-winter to fall, or summer to fall, depending on local climate.
Fruit: Small black or blue-black, berries. Most hybrids are sterile and do not produce berries. Ripe berries are edible when fully dark.
Leaves: Rough textured, green, serrate margins, to 3" long, strong odor if crushed.
Stems: Tiny thorns on some cultivars.
Wildlife: Some cultivars are very attractive to butterflies, other cultivars do not interest them. Young hummingbirds occasionally investigate when the plant is in a container three feet or more off the ground. It attracts birds if berries are produced. Avoided by mammals.
Toxic / Danger: All parts, including unripe berries, are toxic. Small thorns on stems.
Origin: Tropical America.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 9-11. Root hardy to 20°F. In regions with freezes, it will grow back from its roots, after the start of spring, if it is properly mulched.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun for best blooms.
Water once established: Monthly.
Soil: Well drained, pH 6.1-7.8 (slightly acidic to slightly alkaline), adaptable otherwise.
Mulch: Cover roots well before the first predicted freeze.
First Year Care: Water thoroughly every day to establish an extensive root system.
Prune: Remove dead parts in late winter.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed or cuttings.
Uses: Ornamental.

Comments
This plant is a member of the Verbena family (Verbenaceae). Many varieties sold in nurseries are hybrids with varying degrees of cold hardiness. Cultivar 'Del Rio' repels butterflies. Other cultivars attract them.
The butterfly in the picture is a Sleepy Orange.
Lantana is considered an invasive and noxious weed in parts of California, Florida and Hawaii.



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Latest update: February, 2019.

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