I’m a sucker for this hot color range and use it to dress up the vegetable garden and surrounding area usually choosing Marigolds, Zinnias or Nasturtium. But I didn’t recognize this plant. It sort of reminded me of Verbena or a Viburnum shrub. I didn’t remember ever having seen it in a local nursery. I didn’t even know if it was annual or perennial.
Not to worry, I thought, when the spring catalogs arrive I’ll probably be able to pick it out. Sure enough I did. It was the annual Lantana. And not surprisingly, it is related to both Verbena and Viburnum. The annual Lantana is actually a tender perennial. In an annual application it is very tough and hardy. It is said that it thrives on heat and neglect.
Then I found them in hanging baskets at a local grocery which fit beautifully in one of my old chair pot stands.
A month or so after first planting my furthest afield whiskey barrel, I pulled out some tired and unhappy Nasturtium in the wash basin planter and put some small Lantana in there.
They quickly filled out and as a bonus, when the seed heads mature, they are a lovely blue. Who knew?
|Ripening Seed Pods|
The season is almost over and I have a new standby for container plantings. Butterflies and Hummingbirds are attracted to it. It is true that the plant loves hot spots and is not insulted if you forget to water it although the overcrowded commercially potted hanging basket did require regular attention. I’ll plant just one plant in a pot there next year which should make it as low maintenance as the rest.
I like Lantana just as much as I thought I would. It's here to stay.