Garden Oracle / Drought and Heat Tolerant Gardening / Tucson - Phoenix - Arizona - California

Growing Lantana camara:

social icons Facebook Twitter Pinterest Instagram

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: All year in regions without freezes. May not bloom in the middle of winter.
Fruit: Small black or blue-black fruit. Most hybrids are sterile and do not produce fruit. Ripe fruit 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 fruit are produced. Avoided by mammals.
Toxic / Danger: All parts, except ripe (fully dark) fruit, are toxic. The stems have small thorns.
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.

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.

Do you have additional information or a different experience for these plants that you would like to share? Email All contributions are welcome and appreciated.

Lantana camara - red flowers and sleepy orange butterfly

Lantana camara - red flowers and hummingbird

Lantana camara: Lantana - fruit

Lantana camara - gold flowers

© 2008-2023 by
Latest update: January, 2022