Lantana

Orange Lantana

   

This cultivar of Lantana camara is called 'Radiation' or 'Radiation Orange.' It flowers most strongly all summer long, but also continues blooming into Autumn, as these October 2002 photos attest. This specimen even continued blooming through the first mild frost, but then we had one sustained trio of cold days & the Lantana dropped its blooms & was done for the year.

In zones where lantana experiences no frost in autumn or winter, it will bloom year round. Hummingbirds & butterflies like the long-lasting flowers, which for this cultivar are quite varied, some of the blooms being bright orange, some bright yellow, some a mix of yellow & orange & deep red, all on the same woody winding branches.

Lantana It is a relative of verbena, & in its semi-creeping prostrate habit has a considerable resemblance to Homestead Verbena. However, it is not nearly so winter-hardy as Homestead Verbena, & is an iffier plant to attempt in USDA Zone 8, being best suited to warmer climates than ours.

It is adaptable enough that we decided to give it a try. We planted a specimen in the full-sun low-maintenance garden by the road. We hoped that if this low-growing evergreen could make it through its first winter, it would be fine thereafter, though always at risk of some damage when temperatures fall below 30 degrees F. Full sun exposure is especially necessary here in the Pacific Northwest if it is to have a chance, & even if it's doing okay, it may get scruffy-looking in the winter & drop its leaves.

It wants infrequent watering, perhaps no watering at all on Puget Sound unless there's an unusually hot summer, in which case occasional deep watering may be required. It can grow to four feet high & five wide, though it will be smaller here, its size restricted by having damaged parts trimmed away after winter. A good fertilization regimen will increase flowering, but it calls for little else beyond well drained soil & loads of sunlight.

We've had such good luck with "marginally inappropriate" species that really belong in a warmer climate, so we were expecting this lantana to do well even if it required a repair-pruning in spring. Alas, it did not make it through its first winter, though it was a mild one. So for us it ended up being an annual by default, & we're as yet uncertain if it is worth attempting again.

   



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