I have a love-hate relationship with Lantanas. This time of the year my hands are full of their spikes my forearms have rashes generally I am not very happy with grooming them. But comes summer and I can’t stop to admire the clusters of colorful flowers and the bees happily buzzing around under the scorching sun.
“Lantana camara” is the official name of the species most commonly found on the Greek islands and is a native to the Caribbean. A prickly stemmed evergreen shrub that may reach 2 m high and wide. The coarsely toothed leaves are dark green and aromatic, and 3-8 cm long. The many small rounded flowerheads of pink and yellow flowers change color with age to red or orange. Several colour combinations may be found on the same plant. There are many hybrid varieties, with white, cream, orange-red, light pink, magenta or combinations of these and other colours. The main flowering season is from early summer until late autumn. But some flowers may be produced during the rest of the year.
There are many pros and cons using this shrub in Mediterranean gardens:
- The shrub is easily grown and not particular about soil conditions.
- Grows well in full sun, with moderate summer irrigation.
- Makes an excellent and colourful hedge.
- Looks good near swimming pools, does not pollute water.
- Great fro costal gardens, withstands salty winds
- Great for creating formal or informal hedges
- Evergreen foliage and flowers most of the year
- Vicious spikes make it difficult to groom
- Needs constant cutting back and shaping to look good
- Spreads quickly with suckers and can get out out of hand
I let it you to decide, but all in all I think Lantanas are a wonderful addition of the Mediterranean private gardens or public parks. Their space should be confined in order to prevent unwanted spreading and vigorous cutting back should be carried out all year round, with the necessary protective gear (safety glasses, long sleeves) to keep them in good shape.