Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I Love Lantanas

Lantana Flowers and Berries in Front of Park Cinemas, Paso Robles, © B. Radisavljevic
Monday as I walked by the Park Cinemas Theater, I could not help but notice how tall the lantanas in their planters have grown this summer. I have always loved lantana's multi-colored flowers, but today is the first time I've ever seen their berries. Most lantanas I've planted have never matured enough to produce berries. This photo shows both the flowers and the berries.





Lantana Berries in Front of Park Cinemas, Paso Robles, © B. Radisavljevic
The photo  to the right shows the berries, both green and mature, up close. If one picks the fully mature berries and digs the seeds out of them, one can then clean the seeds and dry them  for a couple of days. Refrigerate the dried seeds in a sealed container until you are ready to plant them.

They should be planted in spring when the weather warms up. Water well at first until established, and then water should be cut back to about once a week. Fertilizer is not necessary. Lantanas can also be propagated from cuttings.

Lantana Flowers and Berries in Front of Park Cinemas, Paso Robles, © B. Radisavljevic
Both birds and bees love lantanas for different reasons. The bees forage in their flowers and the birds eat the berries. Butterflies, especially swallowtails, also enjoy the flowers. The leaves are toxic to most animals, as are the green berries. The jury is still out on whether it is safe to eat the fully ripe black berries.  I would not advise eating them.

In mild climates, lantanas can survive all year. They should be cut back each spring to promote more blooming. They cannot survive frost, as I've learned the hard way.

See the many Zazzle products featuring lantana and the critters that love it.