Paradise in your home
By Ama H. Vanniarachchy
“Flowers are the remnants of paradise on earth.”
- John of Kronstadt
Your home is your little paradise. It should be a happy, calm and relaxing place filled with positive energy. Plants are one of the best ways to keep your home filled with positive energy and to make it a happy, calm and pleasant place. Plants bring life into your home. They attract plenty of insects. When they bloom the vibrant colourful flowers and fragrances will surely light up your little home paradise.
Among the many plants that are filled with life and energy, Lantana Camara is the best to grow in your home garden. They are vibrant, easy to grow, and attract plenty of insects. They can be grown in containers, or on the ground. They are also the perfect fit for a balcony garden. These multi coloured flowering plants are the favourites of butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.
Known as Lantana camara, scientifically, Lantanas are called Gandapana in Sinhala, which means it has a strong scent. Lantanas are known as fragrant plants. The aroma of the plant is strong and although many do like it hummingbirds and butterflies love the fragrance. It is not only the fragrance but the sweet nectar that attracts wildlife.
They are also known as Bhoot Pool or Ghost Flowers in India.
Although we love these beautiful flowering plants, they are a gardener's delight. In some parts of the world, it is known to be an invasive plant. But when grown in containers, they cannot be a messy plant.
If you are planning to grow a butterfly garden, lantana camara plants are the best choice. Also, they will be the perfect choice for a garden hedge.
Once the plants are established, they need very little attention. There are Lantanas of several colours including yellow, orange, white, red, pink, blue, or purple. So, let us know how these plants are grown and how to take care of them.
Where should they be planted; sun or shade?
There are several varieties of Lantanas of many colours. Some Lantanas grow as large bushes while some are medium size plants and there are some Lantanas that can be grown in hanging pots.
No matter which Lanata it is, all Lantana plants love the sun. Therefore, Lantanas should be grown in a sunny spot in your garden. They need at least six hours of direct sunlight. They will flower less if planted in a shady place.
Lantanas also love good air circulation. Therefore, avoid crowding the plant.
Lantanas should be grown in well-draining soil. These plants do not demand fertiliser but adding a little bit of fertiliser will help the plant thrive better. Avoid overdoing it with fertiliser as it will make the plant weaker and give fewer flowers. They will grow in most soil conditions but prefer slightly acidic soil.
Although they want to be watered regularly, overwatering can make the roots rot. Therefore, water only when the soil is dry.
Remember that these plants can tolerate dry soil and warm weather, but tend to rot if there is too much water. The foliage prefers to stay dry, so if possible water at the base of the plant.
Lantana plants should be pruned regularly to see the best growth of them. Deadhead them often and this will encourage re-blooming.
Pruning is important to promote branching and flowering, as well as to remove the plant's fruit to keep its aggressive growth in control.
Lightly deadhead lantana after flowering to encourage future blooms and to grow bushier branches.
The seeds are toxic for pets so it is always good to prune the seeds as they are toxic for pets.
Types of Lantana
● 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 centres surrounded by orange. This orange colour later fades to pink.
Information courtesy @Gardening Know How (www.gardeningknowhow.com)
The Spruce (www.thespruce.com)
“If you tend to a flower, it will bloom, no matter how many weeds surround it.”- Matshona Dhliwayo