All of us in Texas and in other drought-stricken areas are familiar with lantana (Lantana spp.) — it’s that drought tolerant, deer resistant, colorful and nearly-always blooming tough-as-nails perennial that we all use in our gardens. When a plant is as bulletproof as lantana, you’d be crazy not to use it.
BUT. There’s always a but, right? But, I am really really tired of the same old lantanas that we’ve been using since forever. Namely, L. ‘New Gold,’ that golden yellow, mounding lantana that is planted in every new landscape around town. Now, if you love ‘New Gold,’ for Heaven’s sake, keep planting it. But I’ve had enough of a good thing for awhile, so I’ve been scouting out other varieties for all of us to consider. Here are my top recommendations, with links to sites where you can get more details:
- L. ‘Chapel Hill’: This one’s very much like ‘New Gold,’ but the flowers are more of a lemon yellow than a golden yellow. I am trialling two of these plants in my front yard garden this year, and so far, so good!
- Lantana camara ‘Dallas Red‘: A little bigger than ‘New Gold’ and features red, orange and yellow flowers. This is a nice medium sized lantana, not trailing and not ginormous.
- Lantan camara ‘Samantha‘: Same lemon yellow flowers and compact growth, but with a variegated leaf. I like this one because that variegation really brightens up a garden.
- Lantana camara ‘Lucky Pot of Gold’: Very similar to ‘New Gold’ but the leaves are larger, and I’ve heard some say they think it’s hardier than ‘New Gold.’
- L. ‘Patriot’ Compact Orange: Mounding habit but with more orange-red flowers.
So there you have it — it’s one of my best garden tips, actually. If you want to spruce up your garden and try something new, you don’t have to start all over. Lantanas are awesome plants, and they make sense for areas where we have drought conditions and deer but still want vibrant color. But just don’t reach for the same old varieties — try a new one to liven things up a bit.
What’s your favorite lantana variety? You haven’t planted lantana? Why not, for Pete’s sake?