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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 - September 14, 2005

From: Richardson, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Shrubs
Title: Smarty Plants on lantana in Dallas
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

For several years, the lantana plants in my backyard in Dallas grew and bloomed all Summer and Fall until the first real cold snap. I've loved having a native plant that didn't need constant care and watering during the hot summer months. But, this year, for some reason, we've had foliage growth, but no flowers at all on these shrubs. Does Lantana have a dormant season, or should we replace these plants next Spring?

ANSWER:

There are three factors that I know of that would cause a lantana to forego flowering.

First, if a lantana is heavily laden with fruit, it will often stop flowering. Since your plants haven't flowered at all this year, that is not the likely cause. Usually, you'll see one flush of flowers in the summer and then few or none after that if the plant is producing a lot of berries. Lantanas can be induced to re-bloom by removing the developing fruit.

The second possible cause is too much shade. If the area where your lantanas are growing are receiving less direct sun than they have in the past, that could be the cause. Lantanas want lots of hot sun to flower well.

Finally, if lantanas are fed too much, or are growing rapidly, they won't flower very well. They will actually produce more flowers if they are slightly stressed for food and water.

Lantanas go dormant in the winter. Try pruning your lantanas back by 1/3 to 1/2 this winter and don't feed them. You're likely to enjoy a nice display next summer.

 

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