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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - December 28, 2010

From: Pulaski, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Indoor Lantana Care from VA
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I have a Lantana plant. When I moved it inside, it was fine. Then I watered it too much. Is it possible to replant( to dryer dirt) in the winter time. Is has been in the 30's here, but inside 68. The leaves are falling off and I watered it again because leaves felt dry. Please help. Thank you, Helen

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants has a good database showing six native Lantana species; these can be reviewed by searching the “Plant Database” using Lantana as a keyword.  Pretty much all of those are native to the southern states [farther South than Virginia!], so I’m guessing your Lantana is likely a commercial cultivar like discussed here. There is a shrub, Viburnum lantanoides (hobblebush), sometimes referred to in retail trade as a Viburnum Lantana, that is native near to your area of VA.  These and several previous answers [which I've included in this discussion] have a good amount of information helpful in differentiating Lantana varieties and their care. 

All this advice can be summarized pretty easily.  All Lantanas are deciduous and drop their leaves in the winter.   The behavior you describe, especially as you brought it indoors kind of late in the season – is typical of a deciduous plant going dormant preparing for the winter [Just like the trees outside!].  Here is another reference discussing Lantanas in the winter.

Dormant plants don’t need much water, nor do inside plants.  Repotting a dormant plant is not a good idea; they don’t have the strength to recover well and it is a very good idea to let it dry out. Checking the leaves to see if the plant is dry is also misleading; the leaves naturally dry out as the plant heads towards dormancy.  Instead, the best method is to check the soil by using the "finger" method. Stick your finger into the soil in the pot. If the soil feels dry, to the depth of about 2-3 inches when you insert your finger in the soil, then it needs watering. Remember however that this is winter time, so let the soil dry out thoroughly before watering. It’ll be fine when it is that dry, but won’t really come back strong until the spring. Always err on the side of the plant being a little dried out, rather than overwatering and drowning the plant.  Here’s a question and reply addressing several plants, including Lantana, as potted plants spending a winter indoors.

 

More Wildflowers Questions

How do I grow bluebonnets in East Texas?
April 03, 2009 - I live in the Piney Woods region in N.East Texas. I bought a flat of bluebonnets and want to know if they will grow back next year? If not, how do I get bluebonnets to grow back every year in my yard ...
view the full question and answer

Annual flowers for fall planting in San Antonio
June 22, 2010 - What are some recommended annual flowers for fall planting in a small garden in San Antonio? Also any help on planting and cultivating would be appreciated.
view the full question and answer

Herbicide use in bluebonnet field in Blanco, TX
April 10, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have the best of both worlds and the worst of both worlds. Iíve been throwing bluebonnet seeds for 6 years on our property near Blanco, and when it rains, as it has this year...
view the full question and answer

Is Annual Rye Choking Out Wildflowers in Austin?
January 15, 2011 - We live about 3 miles from the wildflower center on 3 acres and there is a natural area on our property that gets a lot of wildflowers. Last winter we threw out annual rye seed to have some greenery ...
view the full question and answer

Making Tea from Croton monanthogynus
August 13, 2013 - Do you have any other information on the value of croton monanthogynus as a tea? Nutritive value? Possible adverse reactions?
view the full question and answer

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