COMMON NAMES: Lantana, Shrub Verbena, West Indian Lantana, Yellow Sage, Red Sage
BOTANICAL NAME: Lantana camara, Lantana montevidensis, and others (Lantana spp.). Native to Central and South America.
TYPE: Perennial shrub - Sun
HEIGHT: 1 - 3 feet
SPREAD: 2-4 feet
SPACING: 12- 18 inches
HABIT: Bushy growth all summer with flowers of yellow, white, orange, pink, blue, and purple. Some upright, some recumbent, and trailing varieties (from L. Montevidensis) are available. Some of the tough varieties will return each year. Here are some of the varieties available.
CULTURE: Easy to grow in any well-drained soil, likes good bed preparation. Drought tolerant. Regular fertilization will create more blooms.
USES: Summer color, pots, hanging baskets, attracts hummingbirds and other pollinators.
PROBLEMS: Whiteflies, but no big deal. Gets woody with age.
NOTES: Berries and leaves are toxic, keep away from pets and small children. Plant in spring. Native Texas lantana is Lantana horrida. Look for the newer hybrids that are less likely to spread in the landscape.
Lantana urticoides or Lantana horrida, the Texas native Lantana. Photo from the University of Texas at Austin
CAUTION: This plant is native in the New World but has been declared a problem in parts of Texas and invasive in California, Florida, and Hawaii. The Native Plant Society of Texas gives a good rundown of the varieties of Lantana to use or avoid in Texas. In Australia, Lantana camara is a big problem. Here is a summary from James Cook University and this is a brochure from the Queensland Department of Agriculture Land Protection Fund. Also called "West Indian Lantana" in other parts of the world. The Queensland brochure notes that the toxins in Lantana spp are the "triterpene acids" and a toxic dose for an 1100 pound cow is 44 pounds. According to Florida Today, and FirstVet, much smaller amounts of the plant will harm the liver in dogs, cats, and other pets and can kill in large doses. More from the ASPCA.
From the Invasive Plant Atlas, here is information about the invasive status of some Lantanas in parts of the US. If you live in one of the areas represented, choose a different well-adapted flowering shrub for the garden.
Topic updated May 2023
Search Library Topics Search Newspaper Columns