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August 18, 2018


I have some Lantana that I overwintered inside last year.  One is a pretty bush, the other is quite leggy.   Can I trim them back and when?  And what about my Irises.  Am I to trim them back and when?  


I have to admit I was surprised at the number of lantana plants that overwintered in our colder than normal winter, but many did.  If your plants are leggy by all means give them a haircut.  This should help them thicken up and grow fuller. It will delay a week or two of blooms, but fertilize when you do it and water it in, and the plants should bounce back.  For iris, it depends on how they look, how many you grow and your preference.  Folks with hundreds of iris cut the foliage back to cut down on disease issues. I have just a couple of iris plants in the yard and I think the foliage is more attractive whole and I don’t cut them back.  If your leaves are discolored or damaged by disease, then cut them back. Otherwise, leave them alone. 


July 1, 2017

QuestionLast year I spent hours dead-heading yellow Lantanas even though they don't seem to put out many seeds. This year I have not dead-headed and can't tell the difference in the number of flowers.  Is dead-heading really necessary

AnswerThere are a profusion of varieties of lantanas.  Many of the newer varieties are called self-cleaning, meaning they don’t set seeds and there is no need to deadhead.  Older varieties still set a copious amount of seeds, and if you don’t deadhead, they quit blooming until their seeds are ripe. Read the tags that come with your plants and it should say if it is self-cleaning. If you have lost the tags, I would only dead-head if you see seed heads forming.  Seed set takes away from the plant setting more flowers, but if yours aren't setting seeds, it would be a waste of time to dead-head.


October 10, 2015

QuestionI have successfully wintered some very large lantanas but also continue to lose a few each winter. A friend suggested that" Lady Luck" is a main factor. How severely does one cut back a lantana prior to mulching?  And do you have any suggestions on winter preparation?  Would covering them with plastic be of any benefit?

AnswerI would say more like Mother Nature versus Lady Luck.  A lot has to do with how cold it gets and for how long.  Lantana is an iffy perennial in central Arkansas, a pretty proven perennial in south Arkansas and definitely an annual in NW Arkansas unless you are growing a hardy variety like Miss Huff.    Some folks don’t cut back their plants until spring, thinking the dead top debris adds to their layer of mulch, while others cut back and then mulch.  Whichever method you use, let the plant experience a killing frost before you add the extra mulch.  If you mulch the plant before it goes dormant, it will rot during the winter.  How wet our winter is and how well drained your site is can also play a role in winter survival. Sitting in wet soil can also cause the root system to rot.  Plastic is not my recommendation—something breathable is best—a large cardboard box or something similar.  But in reality, lantanas are readily available to plant each season, so in a worst case scenario, you are supporting the green industry by buying new plants!



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