Trailing Lantana, weeping lantana

Lantana montevidensis

Trailing lantana is a common landscape plant in the Tucson area. Its low growth makes it suitable for edgings and for use as a groundcover. This native of Tropical America is grown worldwide along with its relative Lantana camara, which is considered a noxious weed in some areas (for example, see this article from Australia and this one from Invasive Plant Atlas).

Perhaps evergreen in warmer climbs, trailing lantana routinely dies to the ground in winter in the foothills surrounding Tucson. Cut off the dead parts in late winter. Flowers and leaves will appear in April and last until the first frost of late fall. This plant does best with regular watering in summer.

The flowers of trailing lantana are typically purple. Selections with white flowers or varying shades of purple are sometimes available. Hybrids with shrubby lantana (Lantana camara) are known and may have yellow, gold, or multicolor flowers. 

trailing lantana blooming at Academy Village       trailing lantana blooming at Academy Village       blooming at Academy Village

CAUTION: There is evidence that lantana fruit is toxic to animals, including dogs. For additional information, see this article from the Veterinary Medicine Library of University of Illinois. Also, the hairs on the leaves can cause irritation in some people.

Wildlife value: attracts butterflies and bees.

More Information

Weekly Plant comparing lantana with Goodding verbena

Horticultural information from ASU

Horticultural information from Pima County Master Gardeners

In books:

Perennials for the Southwest by Mary Irish, page 165

ID Characteristics

 This plant is in the Verbenaceae - the verbena family.
trailing lantana blooming at Academy Village
Trailing lantana grows low and wide, with a spread of up to 6 feet but a height of no more than 18 inches. Its relative Lantana camara and some hybrids are more upright and shrub-like, growing to 6 feet in height. The stems are thin and semi-woody, often tinged with red/purple.
trailing lantana blooming at Academy Village
The leaves are opposite, egg-shaped but pointed on the end, 1-1.5 inches long. The edges are regularly toothed. The veins are somewhat recessed making the area between the veins more prominent, almost a quilted effect. The leaves may be pungent when crushed. Be careful handling this plant. The sharp hairs on the leaves can cause irritation in some people. As the weather cools in fall, the leaves may take on a purple cast.
trailing lantana blooming at Academy Village
The flowers are held in rounded clusters, each 1-1.5 inches wide. Each flower is less than half an inch wide. There are 5 lobes, one usually larger than the other 4, so the whole flower is not quite symmetrical. The flowers of the purple varieties often have a yellow center.