Lantana is a popular landscape plant that blooms in many different colors. It is classified as a flowering perennial, however, it is grown as an annual in many cold regions. It can either be grown as a shrub or in a trailing position.
It is one of the plants that grow throughout spring and summer up to the fall. Due to its growth cycle of about 8 months, lantana can become leggy if not pruned. Pruning helps to maintain its shape and size. Lantana blooms on the new growth and pruning encourages new growth in lantana. So you get double beauty benefits when you prune: you make your lantana plant less leggy and you make it grow more flowers.
Pruning is a great way to maximize the beauty of your lantana plant. And that’s quite something because the plant is already naturally beautiful.
Warning: Lantana produces black berries (not the fruit blackberry, but berry that are colored black) that may look tempting but they are poisonous. You shouldn’t let those berries ripen. If they do–they should be removed as soon as possible.
Pruning lantana is an easy yet tricky task. Proper pruning can improve the overall health of the plant but mistakes can decrease the number of blooms. To avoid those mistakes, follow this complete guide on how to prune lantana to get maximum benefits from pruning.
Complete Explanation for Lantana Maintenance and Pruning:
Clean the Shears:
Your shears must be clean and free from infections and diseases. Wipe the shears with a disinfecting solution before heading out for pruning to ensure the safety of your plant. Also, make sure that the shears are sharp as sharp cuts are quicker to heal and are also more resistant to infections.
As much as possible, you want your pruning cuts to be clean and accurate. Messy cuts can damage your plant and may bring more harm than good.
When to Prune:
Ideally, major pruning should be done before the growing season in early spring followed by a light pruning regimen after the flowering. Make sure that the risk of frost has passed before pruning in the spring. Light pruning for removing diseased branches can be done at any time during the growing season.
Pruning before the growing season readies your plant for productive growth. Light pruning during the growing season is more of a maintenance kind of pruning.
Tips for Pruning in the Spring:
Spring pruning is useful in preparing the plant for the upcoming growing season. The main goal of this pruning is to encourage new growth and get rid of unwanted stems for improving the health of the plant.
1. Pruning Back Branches:
To encourage new growth, prune all the stems back to about 6-8 inches. This will promote the growth of new stems from the cut portion. Don’t damage the leaves while pruning. Always cut between the leaves.
This can give you a bushier and nicer looking plant in general.
2. Remove Damaged & Diseased Branches:
Remove diseased and damaged branches. They can be identified by their difference in color. They don’t participate in blooming and can damage other parts of the plant. Either remove them to the ground or leave the healthy part as a stub.
Removing the dead, dying or diseased parts of the plant ensures that the energy, nutrients, and resources of the plant are utilized for the healthy parts of the plant. You don’t want your plant to waste its resources on dead branches, do you?
This kind of pruning also ensures that the disease of the unhealthy parts of the plant does not spread towards the healthier parts.
Bonus Tip: Always cut at a 45-degree angle. This helps the plant to recover faster and makes it more immune to diseases and infections.
3. Remove the Branches Closer to The Ground:
Some branches might be bending over to the ground. It’s better to remove them to promote air circulation and general sun exposure in the plant.
4. Remove Crisscrossing and Weak Branches:
Crisscrossing branches shade other branches and should be removed. Weak branches don’t produce quality flowers and should also be pruned off for a thinner plant.
Tips for Pruning after Growth Season:
Light pruning, after the blooms have withered, would help to shape the plant and get rid of the spent growth.
1. How to Deadhead Lantana?
Deadheading is essentially the cutting of the withering flowers. Before we answer the question of how to deadhead lantana, we should first better understand the reasons for doing so.
- One of the reasons is: deadheading can encourage your lantana to rebloom but it is not guaranteed.
- By deadheading, we can direct the plant’s energy towards growth formation rather than on the berries. These berries of lantana are poisonous and so deadheading prevents the plant from producing them.
When deadheading, you can either remove the whole stem (which holds the withered flower) or a part of it. Cut at a 45 degrees angle at the base of the stem on the main branch to remove the stem completely. Otherwise, cut a few inches away from the base up till the healthy stem.
2. Remove Weak and Thin Branches:
Thin and weak branches don’t give plentiful blooms. Removing these branches is more beneficial to the plant.
3. How To Shape Lantana?
Shaping is also usually done after the season. Remove overgrown branches to the base branch. Remove excess flowers and overextended leaves as well. This will improve the shape of your lantana.
If you have a certain expectation of how your lantana plant should look, this is the way to achieve it.
How to Prune Lantana When it is Overgrown?
If your lantana has overgrown, it is best to prune one-third of the plant. Prune off the branches from the sides and the top by one-third. It will promote new growth and will help to control the size of the plant.
Pruning Lantana in Container:
Lantana maintenance for container-grown plants is similar to the outside ones. However,.to prevent your lantana from becoming leggy, make sure that your plant is getting enough sunlight and prune regularly.
When pruning lantana in containers, snip off the new growth to encourage branching. This should be done regularly to prevent the plant from becoming leggy. Deadheading should also be done after the blooms have withered.
General Lantana Care Tips
Lantana plants are suitable for either outdoor or indoor growth. They prefer warm climates, so if your area has a rather cold climate, indoor growth would be the plant’s preferred method.
Lantana is fairly drought tolerant. However, that does not mean that it does not need water. It still needs about an inch of water weekly to survive. The general rule of thumb is to never water the plant until the top part of its soil is utterly dry. Also, remember to just water the soil, not the foliage. That will harm the plant.
If you are planting several lantana plants, keep in mind that they need space to grow. Air circulation is an important factor in their healthy growth. Don’t overcrowd them.
Lantana is a gorgeous plant with beautiful flowers, comparable to wisteria and geraniums. It is hardy and doesn’t require much water. Lantana can continue to grow without pruning but pruning improves the health of the plant and makes it more presentable.
Spring pruning prepares the plant for a long blooming season by removing unnecessary branches and fall pruning helps to shape the plant and to deadhead the flowers. Both of these pruning systems are beneficial for the plant.
Well-pruned lantana is a very pleasant sight and it not only attracts people’s attention, but it is also the favorite of bees and insects. Pruning lantana is not a difficult task. You don’t need formal training for this. Just the essential information on the procedures of pruning should be enough to guide you on this road. Everything you need to learn how to prune lantana is discussed here.