If you’re a desert gardener who’s convinced that nothing can thrive there, lantana is the plant for you. Even in extreme temperatures, these plants bloom and survive. Ground cover and bedding plants are only two examples of the many ways lantana can be used. U.S. Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone Map zones 9 and above include Lantana. Three months before temperatures in your area reach 75 degrees Fahrenheit, grow lantana seeds indoors.
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Where Are the Seeds in a Lantana Shrub?
All seeds form from flowers, so finding lantana seed pods is as simple as knowing where and when the flowers bloom. Lantana (Lantana camara) blooms vigorously from midsummer until the first autumn frost, sending up clusters of flowers in a range of colors from gold to pink to brilliant red. The berry-like seed pods replace the lantana flowers at the tips of the stems through the summer and into autumn as the flowers fade. Although growing lantana from cuttings is most common, it can also be grown from seeds. However, the seeds may not grow a plant with the same color flowers as the original lantana shrub.
Knowing where and when the lantana flowers bloom is all that is required to locate seed pods and collect the seeds from them. A variety of hues can be seen in the clusters of Lantana (Lantana camara) flowers, which bloom from midsummer until the first fall frost. This year, as the blooms wilt and fall off the lantana stalk, the berry-like seed pods replace them. Lantana can be grown from seed as well as cuttings, but the latter method is more frequent. Seeds from the lantana shrub may or may not produce a plant with blooms of a similar hue.
Finding Lantana Seed Pods
Lantana blooms throughout the summer and fall, so it is constantly releasing flowers and seeds during the growth season. The blooms only appear at the very tips of the tall, square stems, which means they form terminally. Green, berrylike balls, about a third of an inch long, replace the vibrantly colored blossoms as they fade. Lanthana’s green balls are seed pods that will turn a rich purple-black color when they’re ripe. Wait for the pods to be slightly wrinkled before removing them from the vine.
According to the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension Service, all components of the lantana plant are toxic and should be collected with gloves. You can store the seed pods in a paper bag in a cool, dry spot until spring. After a period of time in storage, the pods will dry up and the seeds will be easy to remove. Once the berries’ seeds have fallen out of the berries, shake the paper bag vigorously to release them. If not, you can remove the seeds by gently crushing the berries between your fingers.
Starting Lantana Seeds
To get a head start on the growth season, Cornell University advises sowing lantana seeds inside three to four months before the final spring frost. In order to remove any naturally existing compounds that could hinder germination, it’s preferable to soak the seeds in warm water for at least 24 hours. Small 3-inch nursery pots filled with seed starter compost should be prepared while the seeds soak. Each lantana you want to plant should have its own pot. Using pots with drainage holes will help to keep the compost from becoming too wet during the growing season.
Sowing more lantana seeds increases the likelihood of obtaining a healthy seedling, as they germinate inconsistently, even under ideal circumstances. Sow the seeds 1/8 inch deep, and then use a spray bottle to moisten the compost before spreading it over the seeds. A window with a temperature of 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for the pots. Keep the top inch of the compost moist at all times. According to a journalist from the Missouri Botanical Garden who was published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, lantana seeds can grow in one to two months.
Growing Lantana Shrubs
Grow the lantana seedlings indoors until the risk of frost has passed. When the seedlings have several mature sets of leaves, they are ready to be transplanted into the garden. Lantanas prefer moist, draining soil and full sun, but they aren’t picky about the type of soil they grow in. Lantana should be spaced at least 2 feet apart.
Aside from regular watering and occasional pruning, mature lantana bushes require relatively little maintenance or care. However, until they become established in the garden, they require extra water and a small application of mulch. Keep the soil moist and weed-free by covering the base of the plant with a 2-inch-thick layer of mulch. Use a hose or sprinkler to water as soon as you see the top few inches of soil are becoming dry. Keep shrubs compact by cutting back stems by a third of their original length.
How To Collect Lantana Seeds
Step #1. Collection
Gathering the pods is the first step in harvesting lantana seeds. Throughout the growth season, your lantana plants will generate seeds just like any other plant. You can always inspect your lantanas for fading blossoms so that you can gather the pods later.
At a length of less than one inch, these seedpods are still green. When they’ve ripened and transformed from purple to black, with wrinkled skin, they’re ready to be harvested. Make sure to use hands when harvesting lantana berries, which are toxic, as the seed pods ripen in the plant.
Step #2. Drying
After harvesting the seeds, the next step is to store them for planting. It is possible to store the seed pods in a paper bag in a cool and dry spot to dry out and harden. Gathering the seeds from the pods for sowing is easier this way.
You don’t have to smash the pods to get the seeds out after shaking the paper bag for a while. To open the berries, you don’t need any special tools because you can crack them with your hands. Using the seeds you’ve collected, you should be able to begin planting in the spring of 2017.
How To Grow Lantana From Seeds
Step #1. Germination
When starting lantana plants from seed, it is recommended to do so inside. When you use this method, you’ll be able to produce fast-growing, ready-to-transplant seedlings. Starting lantana seeds three months prior to the last spring frost will ensure maximum yields this year.
To ensure germination, immerse your lantana seeds for at least a day in warm water before planting. This will soften their hulls, making it easier for them to sprout. In the greenhouse, you can get their pots ready at the same time.
A well-draining pot with a moist seed starting compost is suitable for germination of lantana seeds. Enough water is available to support growth, yet the soil is not saturated as to harm the seeds because of the efficient drainage. As a precaution, just sow three seeds per pot because it’s unlikely that all seeds would germinate.
Step #2. Maintenance
Before covering the seeds with damp compost, you can plant them almost one inch deep. To encourage development, select an area in the greenhouse that is well-lit but not directly exposed to sunlight. Keep the soil moist and the temperature between 70 and 75°F, and the lantana seeds should germinate in one to two months.
The seedlings can be selected and grown under lights once you have them. After the threat of frost has gone, transplant the young lantana plants into the garden. When transplanting, however, be sure to adapt them slowly before moving them to a place with moist and well-draining soil in full sun.
Once established, lantana plants are able to grow in difficult situations, such as drought. In order to provide them with the moisture they need, adding mulch to the soil may be a good idea. In addition, you can lightly fertilize them to increase flowering and then clip the stems to keep them in shape.
Can You Grow Lantana From Cuttings?
The question is whether or not there are any other methods for growing lantana. Cuttings from established plants can also be used to start new plants in the greenhouse. In the spring, cut four-inch portions from healthy parent plants and remove the bottom leaves completely before planting.
Place the cutting in a damp mixture of peat moss and perlite in a pot after it has been dipped in rooting hormone. Cover the pot with a plastic bag to keep the environment moist and stabilize the cutting. After four weeks, the cutting should be able to sprout roots, so you can remove this cover.
Until they are ready to be transplanted outside, keep the cuttings in a bright, well-ventilated area and water them regularly.
How to Grow Lantana from Cuttings
Cuttings can be used to propagate lantana plants. Spring is the time to take cuttings of the fresh growth. Remove the bottom leaves off the cutting and only leave one or two at the top of 4-inch (10-cm) stems.
Mix peat moss and perlite together in a small pot to create a seed starting mix. With a pencil, draw a 2-inch (5-centimeter) deep hole in the center of the pot. Rooting hormone should be applied to the lower two inches (5 cm.) of the cutting before placing it in the hole, and the medium should be solid enough to keep the cutting upright.
The soil around the pot’s edge should have three or four craft sticks inserted into it. Ensure that they are spread out equally. Seal the plastic bag around the potted cutting. You can avoid cutting yourself if you use craft sticks. Leave the cutting alone until you detect evidence of new growth, which indicates that the cutting has taken root and needs no further attention. Three to four weeks are required for the process of rooting. When you’re ready to plant it outside, take the cutting out of the bag and place it in a bright window.
Lantana seeds can be easily multiplied, as you may have heard. A profitable garden can be kept even after the blooms have gone by gathering lantana seeds. Place the green pods in a paper bag once they turn purple-black to keep them fresh.
Shake the bag to harvest the seeds when the seed pods have dried in a cool, dry location. Before planting in the greenhouse, immerse the seeds in warm water for 24 hours. Keep in mind that starting lantana seeds in a greenhouse before transferring the young plants outside after the risk of frost has gone is preferable.