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Darrell Blackwelder column: Lantanas full of color

Lantanas are an excellent choice of summer color for our landscapes, especially with the excessively hot weather we’ve experienced over the past few weeks. It is a very heat tolerant bedding plant that can also be added to decks and patio and window boxes. Lantana has an advantage of not only being heat tolerant but it can also withstand poor, dry soils. An added bonus is deer find the citrus-scented foliage unpalatable, so it’s a deer-proof flower.

The plant easily acclimates a few weeks after planting, but be sure to keep the plants well-watered and fertilized for the first two weeks. When established, the plants quickly spread, displaying colorful blooms attracting butterflies, bees and other insect pollinators.

These plants are best utilized in mass plantings in landscapes or as spot of color in baskets and planters. The most dominant color available at garden centers is yellow and orange, but other floral colors are available ranging from solid white to light blue. Some lantana cultivars may reach heights of three to four feet so choose carefully where you place these plants. Lantanas are perennials, but grown as annuals in our area, however, there are a few cultivars that can survive a mild winter. Miss Huff, “Ham and Eggs” and “Chapel Hill Yellow” are hardy lantana cultivars that often survive our Piedmont winters. It’s not too late to plant if you can still find them. They will continue to thrive until frost. Go to https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/lantana-camara/ for more detailed information on utilizing lantana in your landscape.

Darrell Blackwelder is the retired horticulture agent and director with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Contact him at deblackw@ncsu.edu .

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