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Lantana camara (Spanish Flag)




The ‘Lantana Camara’ is a shrub that has some small, and beautiful looking flowers that attracts both human visitors and butterflies (just keep the dogs, pets and small children away from the plant since contact with the plant has a certain amount of toxicity inherent in it). It looks beautiful as part of gardens, hanging containers and does not require much maintenance. The only problem with it in warmer locations is that it can be terribly invasive. Here are more details about this plant:

Common Lantana is a rugged evergreen shrub originally from the tropical areas of the world. Lantana will grow to a height of around 6 ft (1.8 m) and may spread in a bush type growth to 8 ft (2.4 m) in width. Some varieties are able to clamber vinelike up supports to greater heights with the help of supports. The leaves of Cantana are 2-5 in (5-12.7 cm) long by 1-2 in (2.5-5 cm) wide having rounded tooth edges. The leaves have a textured surface. Lantana is valued for a long season of bloom, with flowers existing for many months.

Hardiness: Grow in USDA Zones 8-11. Lantana is happy to be in a climate of both humid and dry heat. Lantana is frost-sensitive, so plant outdoors after the ground has warmed thoroughly. Space the plants about 18 inches apart. This tropical plant is killed back to the ground at 28 ºF (-2.2 ºC) but will grow back from the roots when warm weather returns and is very tenacious.

When it is killed to the ground by frost and then recovers when the weather warms, Lantana blooms in summer and fall. The color of the flowers ranges from white to yellow, orange to red, pink to rose in many combinations, with the flowers usually changing in color as they age. To get a good display, put the plant in a hanging basket when its flowers bloom into these many shades of color. Lantanas are most often used in containers. They grow well in sunny window boxes, hanging baskets, or patio planters.

Lantana is very easy to grow and will adapt to most soil types. Too much water and fertilizer will reduce bloom, and is to be avoided.

Moisture: Newly planted lantanas will need to be kept moist for the first few weeks until the roots have spread into the surrounding soil. Well drained soil is preferred. Lantana is very drought resistant.

Lantana requires little fertilizer. Feed your plant every 2 weeks with a houseplant variety fertilizer. Keep feeding as long as buds keep developing.

Prune lantana periodically during summer by lightly shearing the tip growth to encourage repeat blooming. Plants that have become too large for their allotted space may be pruned back by up to a third of their height and spread, and you can be assured of a good bloom.

Dangers:
Lantana is an invasive exotic species causing problems in many countries such as Australia and India, being capable of disrupting the health of natural species.
Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested.
Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction.
Dangerous to pets such as dogs.

Lantana should be propagated in mid-summer from stem cuttings. Make cuttings from the shoots that are non-flowering (around 3 inches long). Strip off any leaves from the lower part of the cutting, and then immerse the ends in a hormone rooting medium. Once done, insert in a container having moist, well drained, soil made of peat moss and sand. Cover the container with a clear plastic bag and keep in a spot with bright filtered light. After rooting, which takes around 2-3 weeks, and you see new growth emerging, take your container into brighter light and do light fertilization every 2-3 weeks. In the spring, move into individual pots or in the ground.





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