It’s now or never to cut back Lantana

Sorry about the dramatic heading, but I am trying to make Lantana (Spanish Flag) that most quintessential of all Spanish flowers sound dangerous and edgy. I was hoping to take this post in a Scandi Noire direction to hold your attention, or at least stop you playing Candy Crush long enough to appreciate this little versatile plant, but, obviously this has failed. Anyway, at least you now know I’m going to talk about Lantana.

27th January: Things I have been doing lately.

✂️ Cutting back Standard Lantana. Nearly every garden in Spain will have some form of Lantana; whether in large bush form, smaller shrub or the trailing ground cover type. I don’t want to boast, but I’ve got all of them. But that is not the point, the point is that if you want to get the best flowers and growth out of your Lantana, now is the time to trim them. In case you have forgotten what Lantana looks like, the photo below will remind you.

By now all of your Lantana will be looking “woody” but still with some leaves and even flowers hanging on in there. But don’t be deceived if you leave it like this you will never see it’s true potential this Summer. What you have to do now is put on your glasses and get down close to the plant. When you do this you will see little rows of potential leaves just peeping out all the way up each stem.

You need to tidy and reshape each stem by going as far down each one as you prefer and cut just above a leaf node. Depending on the type of Lantana, I am happy to take off a half to two thirds of each plant. The Photos below shows a standard size shrub before and after its prune. (click on each photo for a larger view).

🌿 Cutting back Trailing Lantana. Trailing/ground cover Lantana can be treated in a similar way, but in their case I tend to cut by at least three quarters. The reason for this is that they tend to have lots of dead leaves and other garden detritus trapped underneath their stems and cutting them back gives you an opportunity to have a general clean out and deny slugs and snails a hiding place let alone “puppy dogs tails”. The photos below show some trailing Lantana before and after its prune. (click on each photo for a larger view).

🛢 Cutting back Lantana in pots. To be honest I don’t recommend growing Lantana in pots unless it’s a large pot and the shrub type. Last Summer I took some cuttings from my trailing Lantana. Most of them I planted back into the ground, but one I put in a pot by our front door as it was flowering so nicely. The photo below shows this little plant at the end of the year.

And from this you can see the obvious shortcomings of planting trailing Lantana in pots. That’s right, the long trailing stems are quite stiff and rely on lying on the ground for support, it will not trail over the edge of the pot liking a plant in a hanging basket, and instead the stems will just break. The second photo shows this little plant cut back and it is now planted in the ground where it will be in its natural element.

Dogs in the Sun playing with a shrunken head. Now I recognise that this post has been a bit dry and Lantana focused, so to lighten the mood here is a photo of the dogs playing with one of Cruella’s (my wife) old shrunken head experiments. You may have noticed that they are lying just beside where Cruella buried that giantess with just her legs sticking out of the ground.

Author: spanishgarden

I live in both Spain and the UK and am a very keen gardener. I garden every day and enjoy sharing all the secrets that God allows us to discover in our gardens.

One thought on “It’s now or never to cut back Lantana”

  1. I just cut mine back, not because I wanted to, but because it gets frosted annually. It is in a cold spot. A few yards away, more sensitive plants get through winter just fine. We do not know it as ‘Spanish flag’. Although California used to be part of Spain, most people here do not know what ‘Spanish’ is. To most of us, it means ‘Mexican’.


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