As our San Antonio summer scoots along and the heat shuts down many flowering plants, the sight of something red in the garden is a delightful sight for a hummingbird, which will zoom in for an expected meal. Lantana does extremely well in our Texas climate. You can find multiple shapes and sizes and it comes in a tremendous variety of colors. If red is your thing, it won’t be hard to see why Dallas Red lantana is asked for every year.
Dallas Red lantana (Lantana camara) is a non-native, non-sterile variety of lantana. I urge you to take a look at a previous blog, “Lantana: Long-Flowering, Heat Tolerant Perennial”, to learn a little more about the differences between non-sterile and sterile lantana. This blog will help you make an informed decision about what type of lantana you will choose.
Dallas Red Lantana (Lantana camara) Quicklook:
Classification: Woody Perennial
Average size: 2’T x 2′ W
Winter Hardiness: 28°F, may die back to roots (winter mulch helps protect)
Light Requirement: Full Sun for best blooms
Soil Preference: Well draining, no particular soil need
Water Requirement: Low Usage once established
Pests: Deer/Rabbit resistant, sometimes Lace bugs bother it
Fungus Issues: None of great note
Bloom Period: Spring through fall
Bloom Color: Predominantly Red, with orange and gold hues
More About Dallas Red Lantana
As noted above, Dallas Red lantana has fiery colors in its flowers which each hold multiple, tiny, tubular vessels that make up each profuse cluster of blooms. The flowers start off an orangish color and mature into a ruby hue. Hummingbirds are happy to visit each part of the vibrant red flower for a tiny but nectarful sip. Butterflies visit too and appreciate the slightly flat-topped blooms as they make a great resting place to fill up on some fuel. Who am I kidding? All pollinators zoom in on lantana. It’s hard to find them without a visitor each day at Rainbow Gardens.
The Dallas Red lantana variety grows in a small, compact shrub form. (You can see more about various lantana sizes in the same blog link noted above.) Plants always do their best when allowed to grow to their mature height so if planting other things around it give yourself a berth of about 16″ between plants. These lantana look great in containers as well.
This plant will need at least 6 hours of sunlight to allow for blooms, but it takes much more; it doesn’t even mind some reflected heat once established. It’s best to plant woody perennials in fall or very early spring. This allows them to get a good root foundation before the heat of our summers.
Once Dallas Red lantana or any other variety is established, they really don’t use much water. However, it is always recommended to offer supplemental irrigation in long periods of drought and hot weather. Lace bugs are the only stand out in the form of pests that bother lantana and those can be thwarted before they arrive by an application of horticultural oil in the winter. It’s better to prevent them with the oil than to have to spray with a systemic insecticide that is harmful to pollinators (but it does control them).
For stoplight-red in the garden, Dallas Red lantana has always been a favorite of many of our customers. I hope you have time to visit my previous lantana blog, I’m going to unabashedly insert the link for it again right here.
~The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy