Lantana camara varieties were named the latest Texas Superstar plant for their showy, full-season flowering, versatility as an ornamental and ability to tolerate the Texas heat.

Lantana camara in bloom. Blooms are a range of bright yellow, orange and vibrant reds as well as some pale white and blue.
Lantana camara are a great option for homeowners who prefer low-maintenance plants that bloom throughout summer and can perform well in the Texas heat. (Paul Winski/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Paul Winski, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horticulture program specialist in the Texas A&M Department of Horticultural Sciences, said Lantana camara varieties have a long-established reputation as a performer in Texas. Their versatility and ability to provide color to landscapes and containers while tolerating heat and drought make lantana a go-to ornamental plant.

Lantana x hybrida, also known as New Gold, and Lantana montevidensis, or trailing lantana, were previously named Texas Superstar plants.

Lantana camara are available in many flower colors and growth habits, Winski said. There are compact varieties, or they may have a spreading-mounding habit. Plants produce clusters of tubular flowers throughout the season in shades of red, orange, yellow, pink, white or purple, and clusters often show more than one color.

“Lantana have a lot of flower power,” Winski said. “They’re a strong producer of blooms, with lots of color options and most plants mature to produce other colors. And they stand up under some of the harsher summer conditions that cause other flowers to fade. Those characteristics make them a superstar.”

To be designated a Texas Superstar, a plant must perform well for growers throughout the state. Texas Superstars must also be easy to propagate, ensuring the plants are widely available and reasonably priced.

Some grower series of lantana camara available at garden centers include Landmark, Lucky, Shamrock, Bandana, Bandito, Bandolero, Bandolista and Havana.

Adding lantana to summer landscapes

Lantana are considered annual plants in Texas, but varieties can perennialize in southern parts of the state during mild winters, Winski said.

“They’re sold as an annual, but plants don’t always listen to their labels,” he said. “Lantana will be an annual in Dallas, but they can make it as a perennial further south during milder winters.”

Lantana are low-maintenance plants that perform well in the landscape and in containers. It’s best to plant flower beds in the spring while lantana can be planted in containers during the spring and summer, Winski said. Lantana can add color to borders or in mass within landscape beds or in hanging baskets and containers.

Lantana perform best in full sun, he said. Plants adapt to most soil types that drain well, and most bagged potting mixes work well for lantana placed in containers.

They thrive in the heat and humidity of the summer, attracting pollinators and beneficial insects.

Lantana camara in bloom. Blooms are a range of bright yellow, orange and vibrant reds.
Lantana camara are a versatile ornamental option for landscapes, flower beds, containers or hanging baskets. They just need full sun and well drained soil. (Paul Winski/Texas A&M AgriLife)

While lantanas are low-maintenance plants, Winski said a feeding of fertilizer could help sustain plants through the summer.

“Once lantana is established and the root system is going, they are drought tolerant and hold up well under drier conditions,” he said. “Sometimes some fertilizer can help them through the heat. Overall, lantana is a great landscape plant to make sure you have continuous color through a tough part of the season.”

Texas Superstar is a registered trademark owned by Texas A&M AgriLife Research. Plants are designated by the Texas Superstar executive board, which comprises nine horticulturists from AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension and Texas Tech University in Lubbock.

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