10 Great Landscape Plants
This article covers great plants for landscaping.
This article covers great plants for landscaping.
I really wanted to call this series of articles "10 Plants Every Gardener Should Try in the Landscape," but this seemed a bit long for a title. Whatever you call them, these 10 plants should be great in landscapes in almost any climate. They were chosen to be heat tolerant, to need little to no supplemental water and to be easy to care for with no deadheading needed. I've grown them all (most of them repeatedly) and love them!
- Artist® Blue Ageratum
- Lo & Behold® 'Blue Chip' Buddleia
- Senorita Rosalita® Cleome
- Graceful Grasses® King Tut® Cyperus
- Diamond Frost® Euphorbia
- Dolce® Blackcurrant Heuchera
- Illusion® Midnight Lace Ipomoea
- Luscious® Citrus Blend™ Lantana
- Snow Princess® Lobularia
- Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum Petunia
I am a lover of Lantana. I love that they are SUPER heat tolerant. Seriously, the hotter it is, the happier the plants are and the more flowers you get. I love that they are low water usage or drought tolerant - extremely drought tolerant. I've yet to have a summer where the Lantana planted in landscape beds needed extra water. I love how easy they are to take care of - I have yet to see a pest or disease problem on Lantana. All of these traits added together gives us a plant that is tough as nails. These are super tough plants, which is a great thing to have in your garden. However, super heat tolerant plants are often thought of as less exciting and colorful than their less tough counterparts. Well, I am here to dispel those thoughts.
I love bright, hot colors - usually defined as reds, yellow and oranges. I love their cheerfulness and the great impact they have in the landscape. This jones for bright colors is one of the reasons I love Luscious® Citrus Blend™ Lantana (photo left, my garden in Missouri, early October). This Lantana has flowers that mix red, orange and a bit of yellow together for a bright pop of color. In cooler temperatures, the color tends to run more towards red with a bit of orange, but when it is hot the color is equal parts red and orange with just a touch of golden yellow (photo to right).
It is vigorous, topping out at around three feet tall, with excellent branching and a ton of flowers. I use it to add height and drama to the middle of flower beds, using other reds, oranges and yellows to really draw attention. While I tend to group at least three of a plant together to add more impact in the garden, with Lantana I have a tendency to place single plants among similarly hued plants or to use a single plant as an accent to contrasting colors. I think this usage gives Lantana more pop in the garden (see photos above left and below left. Photo below left, Champaign County Illinois Master Gardener Idea Garden).
Lantana are easy to maintain. Their heat and drought tolerance means they like summer and won't need you to supplement their water supply once they are established in the garden. Their disease and insect resistance means that insecticides and fungicides are very unlikely to be necessary. They are also not heavy feeders so an application of controlled - release fertilizer at the beginning of the season and a second one mid-summer should be all of the fertility they need. If you have Lantana in the ground, a couple of inches of compost worked into the soil can take the place of fertilizer and will keep the plants happy all summer.
Luscious® Citrus Blend™ doesn't need to be deadheaded to continue to bloom all summer. However, some Lantana may benefit from deadheading. If your Lantana has a lot of green or purple berries on it, deadheading may help increase blooming. If you don't see the berries, don't bother to deadhead. Lantana are also a very forgiving plant when it comes to pruning. If at anytime during the season they start to outgrow their spot or they are looking a bit open, feel free to take a sharp pair of pruning sheers and cut them back. This will increase branching and will help keep their size in check. The pruning may not be necessary, but doing so won't harm the plants.
Luscious® Citrus Blend™ is a fairly tall and aggressive plant, however, you can find a Lantana to fit almost any size and habit you would like. Lantana can be tall, medium or short. They can be mounded, trailing or trained as a standard (this is when a plant is grown so it looks a bit like a very small tree). To make sure you are getting a Lantana to suit your needs be sure to read the label for height and habit information.
Lantana will do best in full sun, a minimum of 6 hours of direct sun a day is best. They are great landscape plants, but certainly shouldn't be overlooked as container plants, too. In most North American climates, Lantana are grown as annuals, however, in their native habitat (warm parts of the Americas and southern Africa) they tend to be shrubs. In fact, you may have noticed by the end of the season the older stems on your plants tend to be rather woody - this is showing their shrub tendency. Unless you live in an area where winter temperatures stay above 25 degrees treat them as an annual. In warm winter climates, you can treat them as a perennial or shrub. It is fairly common to see Lantana hedges in southern California. If you live in a cold winter climate and have a greenhouse or sunroom, you should be able to overwinter Lantana indoors. You may also be able to overwinter them in a sunny window, but this will be more difficult.
This is one of my favorite plants. Give it a try, you won't regret it.
Sun/Shade: It prefers full sun - a minimum of 6 hours of direct sun a day
Height: Medium, 24-36"
Habit: Mounded, Filler in combinations - intermingles well with other plants to fill in the middle ground of a combination
Bloom Time: Planting to hard frost
Artist® Blue Ageratum hybrid 'Agsantis' USPP15,289, Can. 2050; Lo & Behold® 'Blue Chip' Buddleia hybrid USPP19,991, CPBRAF; Senorita Rosalita® Cleome hybrid 'Inncleosr' USPP19,733, Can. 3290; Diamond Frost® Euphorbia 'Inneuphdia' USPP17,567, Can. 2830; Dolce® Blackcurrant Heuchera hybrid 'PWHeu0109' USPP19,574, Can. 3774; Illusion™ Midnight Lace Ipomoea batatas 'NCORNSP-011MDNTLC' USPPAF, CPBRAF; Luscious® Citrus Blend™ Lantana camara '2003.301' USPP19,706; Snow Princess™ Lobularia hybrid 'Inlbusnopr' USPPAF, CPBRAF; Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum Petunia hybrid 'USTUNI6001' USPP17,730, Can. 2871