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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.

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

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Wednesday - June 23, 2010

From: Dover, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives, Diseases and Disorders
Title: Lantana in hanging basket not blooming in Dover PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have a lantana Bandana trailing gold in a hanging planter in full sun. It hardly blooms. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

Lantana 'Bandana" is apparently a selection of Lantana camara, a tropical species of Lantana. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service regards it as "introduced," or non-native to North America, while another source said it is "indigenous to the Lower Rio Grande Valley." It is not, however, in our range of expertise, nor included in our Native Plant Database. In York County, Pennsylvania, USDA Hardiness Zone 6a, you are surely growing it as an annual, because this plant is only hardy from Zones 8 to 11.  We did, however, try to find some reasons why it is not blooming. We read in this Floridata article on Lantana camara that it should be deadheaded regularly in order to keep it blooming. We also know that coming in contact with the plant and flowers without gloves, you will find it is a major irritant.   Another thing we learned about all lantanas is that too much water and fertilizer will reduce blooms. You are kind of in a Catch-22 situation there; hanging plants dry out very quickly because there is not much soil around the roots and it's hanging up in the air, so you water it pretty frequently. In terms of the fertilizer, you probably  bought the lantana in a hanging basket or transferred it to that basket in a potting soil which already had fertilizer in it. Any blooming plant that is over-fertilized will revert to more green leaves and less blooms. 

 

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