Garden Inventory is a series where I begin an inventory of all the plants and trees in my garden. Along with some of my own pictures, I will link to various sources of information about each plant and tree so we can learn a little more together.

I would also like to highlight your special plants and tress. Pass along your favorite plants in the comments and I will use them for future Garden Inventory posts. — Douglas

Garden Inventory: Lantana

Lantana is a genus of about 150 species of perennial flowering plants in the verbena family, Verbenaceae. They are native to tropical regions of the Americas and Africa but exist as an introduced species in numerous areas, especially in the Australian-Pacific region. The genus includes both herbaceous plants and shrubs growing to 0.5–2 m (1.6–6.6 ft) tall. Their common names are shrub verbenas or lantanas. The generic name originated in Late Latin, where it refers to the unrelated Viburnum lantana.[2]

Lantana’s aromatic flower clusters (called umbels) are a mix of red, orange, yellow, or blue and white florets. Other colors exist as new varieties are being selected. The flowers typically change color as they mature, resulting in inflorescences that are two- or three-colored. —

Lantana are a quite common landscaping plant here in Southern California and you are liable to see a wide variety simply driving around town. I have two types here — a yellow/gold variety with an upright habit that was here when we bought the property and a sprawling prostrate purple variety which I added to the streetside bed a few years ago. While I am happy with the upright habit lantana, the prostrate ones can quickly take over an area and smother out the other plants. I have cut back my purple lantana dramatically recently and will probably remove them entirely, to be replaced with more manageable and enjoyable lavender.

Some people find the smell of lantana horrible and can’t stand it in their garden. While it is indeed pungent, I don’t find it objectionable. There have also been reports of contact dermatitis (rash) in certain people when they handle or brush against the plant, so use caution if you think you might be sensitive to the plant.

Garden Inventory: Lantana - 2

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Photos of Lantana with closeups of flowers, leaves,  growing habit, and stems.

More information on Lantana:

Previously on Garden Inventory: