Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
3 ratings

Thursday - November 06, 2008

From: Tarentum , PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Container Gardens, Shrubs
Title: Indoor lantana tree dropping leaves
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I purchased a lantana tree,a lantana hybrid that is only tolerant to 32 degrees. We are zone 5 so I brought it indoors and it only gets the morning sun, and 85%of the leaves have fallen off. The leaves are not dried up leaves, even the green ones that are moist have dropped. It is the lantana that has the bright pink little flower bunches but no berries. Am I doing something wrong? Does it need more light? Any suggestions on how much to water it if it is going dormant?

ANSWER:

A Lantana tree in a cold climate has come up before with Mr. Smarty Plants, you can follow this link to read the whole answer: previous answer . Quoting from that:

"Here is a picture we found when we Googled "Lantana Tree". This is probably a cultivar or selection of the native Lantana urticoides (West Indian shrubverbena) which has been pruned and trained, in greenhouses, up into a tree form. There are many hybridized types of lantana and some non-native, although this one is native to North America. All of them, however, are tropical to sub-tropical in nature. In Texas, in all but the southern part of the state, its branches will die back in the winter and emerge again in the spring."

Since lantana is a full-sun plant, that morning sun, probably through a window, is not sufficient, and that could be the problem. Also, the green leaves dropping off sounds like too much water. Is your plant getting good drainage? It should be in a pot with a drainage hole, and the roots should never be standing in water. If you are not seeing any insects like whiteflies or aphids on your tree, the problem is almost certainly cultural. We would recommend you let the tree go dormant, since they do that ordinarily anyway, cut back on the watering, perhaps giving it a good deep watering only about every couple weeks while it's inside. Then, as soon as you have passed your last average annual freeze date, move it back outside, into the sun and start watering and fertilizing again. We really can't guarantee that it will come back in the Spring, but it's a tough plant. However, you are asking it to flourish in a climate and environment where it was never meant to be. 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Comments on white-flowered Mountain Laurel from Austin
December 23, 2012 - Following up on the August 23, 2012, question from Driftwood about the white-flowering mountain laurel, I have found a few more leads to explore. First, there are four more images of white-flowering m...
view the full question and answer

Roses for Austin soil
May 01, 2014 - What roses would work in the soil near Lake Austin Spa?
view the full question and answer

Small native shrub for Noblesville In
April 30, 2012 - Is there a small shrub native to central Indiana that is suitable for front yard city landscaping?
view the full question and answer

Grapeland, TX is NOT Grapevine, TX
July 25, 2013 - I submitted a question and today received my answer. I do thank you for this valuable service. However, I stated that I lived in East Texas in GRAPELAND, Tx. Nan Hampton answered me and said that a...
view the full question and answer

Carolina allspice (Calycanthus floridus) in Jasper TX
October 27, 2011 - Carolina allspice (calycanthus floridus) grows in my yard in East Texas. It is native to the eastern U.S., but I notice there is a variety whose distribution extends through Louisiana. Since I live in...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.