Lantana (Lantana camara)

Arabic name:أم كلثوم

Lantana (Lantana camara) is a striking flowering shrub, with a sprawling growth habit. A native to South America, the Lantana now is a commonly grown shrub in Mediterranean gardens.  This attractive shrub provides colorful flowers ranging from lavender to yellow, pink, orange or red, with individual flower heads often being multi-colored. The Lantana’s long and profuse flowering season lasts from May to October.  It grows to a height of 1.5m, with a spread of 1.5m, and has fast growth of six months to one year to reach its mature size. 

Requirements: Grows in full sun, with reduced bloom in partial shade.  Prefers well-drained soils, and a mulch groundcover to protect its roots.  Lantana is susceptible to frost damage, but quickly grows back.

Water usage: Low watering (twice a month).

Appearance:
The Lantana is an upright, semi-evergreen shrub with spreading branches and prickly stems.  Its rough dark green leaves are up to 7.5cm long, with serrated edges.  Flowers are produced in 2.5 – 5cm terminal clusters.  These rounded flower heads are produced over a long period from summer to autumn, and change color with age.  There are several hybrids of the Lantana with equally colorful flowers.

The Lantana produces small black or blue-black berries that are inedible.

Notes on use: It is effective as a solitary plant or in groups, and can be pruned to form a small tree or low hedge.  It also may be grown in containers.

Propagation: Propagates by seeds, or hardwood cuttings.

Maintenance: The Lantana should be pruned hard in spring to remove dead wood and induce new vigorous flowering growth.  

Comments:
The Lantana is attractive to both birds and butterflies.
Over-watering and over-fertilization will negatively affect flowering.

 Image source: www.plantsmap.com

Image source: www.plantsmap.com

 Image source: www.alchetron.com

Image source: www.alchetron.com

This article is part of a series of articles prepared by the Center for the Study of the Built Environment (CSBE) on water conserving landscapes. 

For additional information on water conserving gardens, visit the CSBE web site at www.csbe.org

Support for the CSBE project on water conserving landscapes is provided by WEPIA (Water Efficiency and Public Information for Action), a program being implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).