LANTANA

LANTANA

Lantana is a genus of around 150 species of herbaceous or shrubby plants mostly native to Central America. Viburnum lantana (viburnum) is often confused with lantanas, but it belongs to the Caprifoliaceae family and is an evergreen shrub tolerant to the winter climates of the Italian peninsula, whereas lantanas belong to the Verbenaceae family and do not tolerate harsh climates. In fact, they are plants that require heat and temperatures above 6-10°C. Lantanas have leaves and branches covered with hairs and have a rough texture, so much so, that, in some cases, they may be abrasive. These plants produce very colourful and abundant flowers that bloom from May to October. Their inflorescences are made up of numerous tubular flowers that turn from orange to red during the flowering period. They may also be white, yellow, blue, etc. The two most cultivated species are: Lantana camara and Lantana sellowiana. The most visible difference between the two is that the first is a shrub with ascending branches and red, yellow, and orange flowers and can grow up to more than a meter high, whereas the second is smaller and has branches that tend to bend towards the ground, creating a carpeting effect. Its flowers are pink or blue. In cultivating these plants, one must bear in mind that they are of tropical origin and therefore generally live well in the coastal climates of southern Italy, of Sicily, and Sardinia where they survive outdoors, while in the rest of the country, it is advisable to grow them in vases and to protect them in winter. These plants require full sun or part-shade and a fertile and moist substratum. The ideal compost is a mix of 70% peat and 30% sand or any other inert and coarse substratum that allows for good drainage of water in excess. They must be watered daily or enough to prevent the leaves from wilting and sagging during peak hours. These plants are lush and extremely free-flowering. They must therefore be fed every fortnight with a complex, soluble fertilizer to be applied with the irrigation water. Lantanas are hardy plants and are very resistant to disease, but they may be easily attacked by white butterflies and aphids that sting the leaves and the young branches, killing the plant. To limit their development, one can choose from a wide range of chemical aphicides available in garden centers, or one can use chromatic traps; in other words, leaves coloured with yellow and blue and covered with glue that work in the same way as flypaper.

pianta da fiore lantana