Lantana is an irresistible plant with a sweet fragrance and bright blooms that attract hordes of bees and butterflies to the garden. Lantana plants are suitable for growing outdoors only in the warm climates of USDA plant hardiness zones 9 through 11, but growing lantana in containers allows gardeners in cooler climates to enjoy this spectacular tropical plant year round. Want to learn how to grow lantana in containers? Read on!
Types of Lantana Plants for Containers
Although you can grow any type of lantana in a container, keep in mind that some are very large, reaching heights of up to 6 feet, which means they need a very sturdy container.
Dwarf types are suitable for standard-size containers, reaching heights of only 12 to 16 inches. Dwarf varieties are available in a range of bright colors. Popular choices include:
- ‘Chapel Hill’
- ‘Denholm White’
Also, weeping varieties such as ‘Weeping White’ and ‘Weeping Lavender’ are vine-like plants ideal for containers or hanging baskets.
Trailing lantana (Lantana montevidensis), available in white or purple varieties, is a species that reaches heights of 8 to 14 inches but spreads to 4 feet or more.
How to Grow Lantana in Containers
Plant lantana in a container with a drainage hole in the bottom using a lightweight commercial potting mix. Add a handful of sand, vermiculite or perlite to enhance drainage.
Place the container in a location where the lantana plants are exposed to bright sunlight. Water well and keep the plant evenly moist, but never soggy, for the first few weeks.
Caring for Lantana in Pots
Lantana is fairly drought tolerant but benefits from about an inch of water per week once the plant is established. Don’t water until the top of the soil is dry, and never overwater, as lantana is susceptible to rot. Water at the base of the plant to keep the foliage dry. Similarly, don’t crowd the plant as lantana needs plenty of air circulation.
Add a small amount of fertilizer in spring if your soil is poor. Be careful about fertilizer, as overfeeding will result in a weak plant with few blooms. Don’t fertilize at all if your soil is rich.
Deadhead lantana regularly. Feel free to cut the plant back by one-third if your lantana gets long and leggy in midsummer, or just shear the tips.
Caring for Potted Lantana Plants Indoors
Bring lantana indoors before nighttime temps reach 55 degrees F. (12 C.). Place the plant in a cool area where the plant is exposed to indirect or filtered light. Water when the soil is dry to a depth of 1 to 2 inches. Move the plant back outdoors when warm weather returns in spring.