Lantana montevidensis
Common Name: trailing lantana
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Verbenaceae
Native Range: Tropical South America
Zone: 8 to 10
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to frost
Bloom Description: lilac to purple-pink with yellow throat
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 8-10 where plants will thrive outdoors as sprawling, low-growing shrubs featuring continuous bloom throughout the year. Plants are easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Plants tolerate part shade, but best flowering is in full sun. Plants thrive in lean, sandy, slightly-dry soils. In St. Louis, plants must be grown as annuals or in containers that may be overwintered indoors in bright, cool locations. Another option is to take cuttings in late summer from favorite plants for overwintering. Many gardeners elect to purchase new plants each spring in 6-packs rather than trying to overwinter plants or cuttings from the previous year. Container plants are less tolerant of dry soils than plants grown in the ground, and accordingly should be watered regularly and never allowed to dry out.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Lantana montevidensis, commonly called trailing lantana or weeping lantana, is native to tropical areas of South America. In frost free areas, it grows as a low, trailing, woody shrub to only 12-20" tall, but spreads by vine-like stems to 5' wide or more. It is typically grown as a dense ground cover. It features hairy, opposite, coarsely-toothed, ovate, dark green leaves (unpleasant aroma when bruised). Leaves can be a skin irritant. Clusters (to 1 1/2" across) of tiny lilac to purplish-pink flowers with yellow throats bloom profusely throughout the year in frost free areas. Flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies. In St. Louis, trailing lantana is grown as an annual, with flowers blooming from spring to fall frost. Flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies. Trailing lantana has escaped gardens and naturalized in parts of the southern U.S. including Florida, the Gulf Coast and southern California. It can spread invasively in frost free areas, but appears to be somewhat less invasive than its close relative Lantana camara. Genus name comes from the Latin name for viburnum. This species was reportedly discovered in Montevideo, Uruguay, hence the specific epithet.

Genus name comes from the Latin name for Viburnum transferred to this genus.

Specific epithet means of Montevideo, Uruguay.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Powdery mildew may occur, particularly if plants are grown in less than full sun locations. Leaf spot and stem rot may also occur. Watch for whiteflies and spider mites, particularly on overwintering plants.

Garden Uses

Flowering, shrubby, low-maintenance ground cover for frost-free areas. Good for erosion control on banks or hillsides. Where not winter hardy, it serves as an excellent annual for bedding or ground cover. Cascading stems make this a superior selection for hanging baskets, containers or growing along the tops of walls.