Lantana : Greenhouse Plants
W – warm, minimum of 13°C (55°F)
Lantana camara from Jamaica and its varieties are the plants most likely to be seen and are very useful shrubs which will rarely be out of flower. The flower heads have fascinated many people by frequently containing flowers of two different colours; the species is pink and yellow but all sorts of forms and cultivars, involving also red, orange and white, occur. At some stage, usually in February, flowers will have to be sacrificed in order to prune the plant as they will become straggly and tired looking after a while. Cut the stems back to within 10-15 cm (4-6 in) of the base or of older stems. The leaves and stems are prickly and have a rather unpleasant smell. I think the common name of Yellow Sage is being rather unkind to the herb. Visitors from South Africa are amazed when they see us carefully cultivating it as not only does it grow as a weed in their country but they can be prosecuted for allowing it to grow on their land, since it is poisonous to cattle. The only point that would make me dubious about growing it is its attraction to whitefly. Any plant I have ever owned has never seemed to be clean of these despite my efforts to control them.
L. selloviana from Montevideo is a useful greenhouse groundcover plant with pinkish-purple flowers. Cuttings of these are best taken in spring and root very easily. Seed, usually of mixed hybrids, is easily obtained and should be soaked for one hour in hand hot water prior to sowing.