Overwintering Lantana Plants – Caring For Lantanas Over Winter


By: Teo Spengler

Lantana is the answer to every gardener’s prayers. The plant requires amazingly little care or maintenance, yet it produces colorful blossoms all summer long. What about caring for lantanas over winter? Winter care for lantanas isn’t difficult in warm climates; but if you get frost, you’ll need to do more. Read on for information about overwintering lantana plants.

Overwintering Lantana Plants

Lantana (Lantana camara) is native to Central and South America. However, it has naturalized in the southeast part of the country. Lantana grows to 6 feet (2 m.) tall and 8 feet (2.5 m.) wide, with dark green stems and leaves and the familiar clusters of flowers in shades of red, orange, yellow and pink. These blossoms cover the plant all summer long.

When you worry about caring for lantana plants over winter, remember that lantana can grow outdoors all winter long in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 or 10 and above without any special precautions. For these warmer zones, you do not have to concern yourself with lantana winter care.

In colder zones, many gardeners prefer to grow lantana as an easy-grow annual blooming vigorously until the frost. It also self-seeds, and may appear the following spring without any action on your part.

For those gardeners who live in areas that get frosts in the cooler months, winter care for lantanas is critical if you want to keep the plants alive. Lantanas need a frost free area to survive outdoors in winter.

Caring for Lantanas over Winter

Lantana overwintering is possible with potted plants. Lantana winter care for potted plants involves moving them inside before the first frost.

Lantana plants should go dormant in autumn and stay that way through spring. The first step toward winter care for lantanas is to cut back on water (to about ½ inch (1.5 cm.) per week) and stop fertilizing the plants in late summer. Do this about six weeks before you expect the first frost of the year.

Position the lantana containers indoors in an unheated room or garage. Place them near a window that gets diffuse light. Part of winter care for lantanas is to turn the pot every week or so to let every side of the plant have some sunlight.

Once spring arrives and outdoor low temperatures do not dip below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12 C.), place the potted lantana outside again. Adjust its position to gradually increase the amount of sunlight the plant gets. Once the plant is outside, water it normally again. It should resume growth as the weather gets warmer.

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How to Grow Lantana | Care and Growing Lantana

Lantana is a beautiful wild plant that evoke the memories of wild tropical field, it grows in almost all tropical and subtropical parts of South America, Africa, Australia, North America and South East Asia. In most of the tropical countries it is an invasive plant and considered as weed. Still, it is grown for its colorful flowers that release seductive fragrance, more intense in the evening. Fragrance of lantana depends on the variety you are growing, hybrid varieties are more fruity and mildly scented. Lantana flowers also attract bees, butterflies and nectar feeding birds.

USDA Zones— 8 – 11

Difficulty— Easy

Other names — Shrub verbenas, Viburnum lantana, Raimuniya, Unnichedi, Red sage, Wild sage, Yellow Sage and Ghaneri.


Comments (17)

Tsmith2579

It depends om the variety. Miss Huff and the pink with cream center variety is hardy in zone 7. I see it come back year after year without protection along my chain link fence which faces east. I have some growing along the drip line of the greenhouse. Since it get lots of water from the gh run-off, I cut it back, fill up a black plastic pot with leaves and put this over the pruned stems. It comes back ever year. The yellow, red (Dallas) and purple montevidensis varieties are not hardy here.

Justplaindon

I think it depends on the Lantana. I have a Lantana that I beleive is Lantana 'Sunset' that I have out in my yard. It comes back every spring both from the base and on the old "wood". The guy on eBay who sold it said I should be able to grow it in Zone 7, but he doubted Zone 6. I honestly don't know of any Lantana that can handle Zone 6, but give Google a shot and see what turns up.

Mine is well mulched and sort of close to the house so I'm sure that helps. You might be able to overwinter it in your garage or greenhouse if you have one.

Ourfamilygarden

Thank you all for replying!

The type I have is called "Confetti Lantana."

I had read that some do go dormant. Maybe it depends on the variety? I don't know this. It's what some have said. Maybe it depends on the zone and type?

Mine is close to the house. I would have REALLY liked to have had a greenhouse. But, I couldn't find an affordable way to do it. In my area, I was told I'd have to heat it, and that is just too expensive. :( It was what I'd REALLY wanted to do!

That's why I was hoping that, maybe, I could get some of the plants to survive with a tunnel cold frame. -sigh-

If I could think if a way to "cage" the lantana so there were no chance of it coming in contact with our furry family members, I'd give that a try. But, it would have to be some sort of full proof set up.

The one small plant I'd brought in is not doing well. I do not know why. It doesn't seem to be happy indoors. Perhaps it needs more light? I was hoping it would survive through winter in the house. I don't care if it doesn't flower, so long as it survives.

Justplaindon

Because I wasn't sure if my Lantana would survive winter, I took some clippings and brought them inside. They did not look very healthy. stress & not enough light lead to dropped leaves and subsequent weak growth. In the spring they recovered, but the outdoor ones quickly shot up much larger and flowered much quicker.

Do you by any chance have a garage that might stay above freezing that your little furry kids can't get to? The cool temps and maybe a fl on a timer would be enough to keep it semi-dormant and alive for spring.

Ourfamilygarden

Hi, Don! Thanks, again, for replying! I appreciate it!

No, unfortunately, I do not have a garage :( We have a small wooden shed, but it is not attached to the house, and allows absolutely no light to get in it pretty much gets as cold as outdoors.

It's interesting, as our temps are down to the low 30s, and it is still flowering and has berries! But, the first frost is expected to hit Tuesday evening.

Is it possible to build a small cold frame to keep them above freezing temps, for the winter? I've read about PVC piping and plastic. I've also read about putting bales of hay around. I just don't know if that would be in enough in my zone :(

Aezarien

I'm not sure they will come true from seed but you could always collect some of those berries and plant them.

This is my first year with a new variety of lantana so I just took cuttings. They root real easy and are a lot easier to keep through the winter than a full plant.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hay Bale Cold Frame

Justplaindon

As the Lantanas are hybrids they will NOT breed true. You will get all sorts of variations that depend on the properties of the Lantanas used to breed your Confetti. BTW, my Lantana Sunset is sterile. This was important to me because I didn't know if I would like it (turns out I did like it!).

Since you don't have a garage, do you have any location in your house where you could keep it cold (above freezing) and dark? You might be able to let it go dormant and return in the spring. it might be worth a shot. I realize it may be too late now as we have had some really cold weather lately. Still you might be able to try it next year if you get your hands on more of it.

Ronaldsach

i'm on long island new york so no way they survive our winter.. what i did last fall was dug up '3' of the plants, put em into pots, into my heated garage where the temp remains 50+.. this spring moved em outside slowly, planted them in the garden, and they are 'monsters' . i'm doing it again this fall- they get very little light in my garage, n i prune them back by 1/2 in the fall, and then slightly prune the dead wood in the spring. i watered them every few weeks (no fert). also worked with my geraniums , tho some died- also brought in new guina impatients , into my greenhouse room but they got mushy, and were mulched

Hello ,sadly no not hardy unless in z9b and up. I over wintered a small tree form on on the side of the bathtub. It lost all leaves but came back in spring.

Karin Freeman

I live in ZONE 3! love my Lantana, it's still alive waiting for me to do something it's been down to 32 a bunch. I will try to bring it in again. When I visited Long Beach last year it was freezing at night and lantana was everywhere as big as small cars. Zone 6, no sweat! I like that black large pot with leaves over top idea. Better than the compost heap

Lana Prell Schmitt

I live in zone 5, but this year I set up a grow tent and a plant light in my basement. Do I just bring it in and keep it alive in the grow tent . Do I re pot it or let go dormant??

Hal Warrick

I've taken mine into the greenhouse for the past 5 years, I only make it out there about once a week. It does great as long as it gets enough water. If I don't get out there for 2 weeks it really shows dislike. the stank eye ( leaves ) But I water it and new leaves pop out.

HU-873041492

Hey, can you place your Lantana in a grarage or shed that is insulated and cover it up for warm keeping and pet safety? I put my tender perennials in my garage even in SC it is too cold for them.

Jane Smith

Im zone 7a, according to the info online. Zone 7b isnt too far from me.

I have just the plain yellow ones. 3 out of 4 years so far, the ones near my brick house on the north side with East sun, came back in spring. To be clear, they grew back from the roots.

After the temps get cold enough that the green turns to brown (usually late Nov for me) I take all my raked leaves and pile them on and around the plants. I don‘t cut the plants back at all. The one year I did, they didnt grow back from the roots. The 1st year, I didnt even consider they could grow back and I did nothing. No leaves, no cutting back. Nothing. One out of 3 plants that year came back on its own. It was in a well protected area with brick on 2 sides.

For zone 6, I dont know if piling leaves would be enough or not. Worth a try.

Might look into how northern gardeners protect roses and rhodendrons. They might have some ideas that could be used?

This winter so far, we have only had 2 days where the low was under 20. One was 16 and one was 17 for the low In late Jan. Only had 5-10 days of highs below 32 degrees. So its been a mild winter for zone 7. Hopefully, Feb will continue with the same trend.

This next winter, I might try bringing a plant into my unheated garage just to see, in the event we have a bad winter.

Also going to check out the mentioned varieties that are supposedly hardier than the generic yellow plants. This link mentions a few other hardy to zone 7 vs the typical 9 (or 8).

Aufbrezeln Eschaton

Chiming in here with 6a, and I grow my lantana in pots. I cut them down quite hard and bring them into my attached but unheated garage. It never dips below freezing, but it gets pretty cold. I put them on the floor beneath the shop lights (along with my rosemary and fancy-tender lavenders), and just give sips of water through the winter. They lose all their leaves, throw out some really puny tiny ones, then in the spring when the weather warms up enough they just go like they'd never stopped.

They also root as cuttings very easily and grow inside happily if you've enough light for them, a south-facing window, if it's unobstructed, should work I've overwintered them as cuttings on my grow rack (shelves fitted with T5-equivalent LED shop lights) as well, but space on those shelves is in high demand, and for me it's easier to just let them rest in the garage.


Q: I planted some lantana last spring. It was advertised as a perennial but it looks pretty dead now. Should I cut it back or would that be a waste of time?

A: Winter lantana care simultaneously exemplifies the mystical pleasure and the aching frustration of gardening.

Most lantana varieties are a bit too tender to survive a winter north of Atlanta. ‘New Gold’, in particular, seems to have a death wish every December. On the other hand, Rick Berry, the proprietor of Goodness Grows Nursery in Lexington, introduced ‘Miss Huff’ lantana to the trade because it can usually survive cold winters in Athens.

That said, even ‘Miss Huff’ has a hard time coming back in spring if she has been fertilized heartily and made to grow vigorously the previous fall. She seems to do better the worse she is treated in summer. In addition, though the leaves of ‘Miss Huff’ look ragged in January, you’re better of delaying pruning until March, when the weather begins to warm up. Pruning too early in winter makes the plant more susceptible to cold damage. I think I’d wait until April to see if any green sprouts arise before cutting back ‘Miss Huff’. If you planted a ‘New Gold’ lantana, all it is good for now is compost.


Pruning and Dead-Heading

Few other shrubs require so little care and bloom so prolifically. While dead-heading promotes maximum blooming, gardeners who do not remove spent flowers still have plenty of blossoms throughout the growing season. Lantana shrubs benefit from the occasional pruning of tip growth during the summer months to promote flowering. Plants tolerate pruning of up to one-third of their total height and spread if they become too large for their growing space. Perennial lantana plants require a hard pruning to within 6 to 12 inches of the ground in spring to remove old, woody growth.


  • Trailing Lantanas (L. montevidensis): These have longer branches (up to 12 inches long) and are popular for baskets or hanging displays.
  • Popcorn lantana (Lantana trifolia): This type is known for its relatively small and bright clusters of flowers.
  • Wild lantana (Lantana horrida): Found in Texas, these have especially pungent leaves.
  • 'Spreading Sunset' (Lantana x 'Monet'): This cultivar has a flower head with gold centers surrounded by orange. This orange color later fades to pink


Watch the video: How I prune my Lantana


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