QUESTION: Is lantana an invasive species? A neighbor said something about this, but I am not sure if he knows what he’s talking about or not. – Kevin S.
ANSWER: Yes, lantana is an invasive species. It is considered a category one because it’s taking over growing locations, suffocating native plants, and even breeding with native plants to create hybrid versions of lantana.
If this plant is so invasive, why do people plant it? Lantana is frequently grown because it mounds and produces gorgeous blooms and foliage. It also isn’t picky about growing locations. When you can produce a fuss-free, gorgeous plant, many people tend to love it.
However, lantana also grows swiftly and assertively. If you aren’t prepared to maintain such a plant, this can cause big issues for your yard or garden area.
Understand that lantana is known for being toxic to animals and can cause skin irritations for humans. Therefore, if this plant takes up large areas in a field, it becomes extremely difficult to control as chemicals become expensive to remove the plant, and it can’t be grazed on by animals to keep it under control.
This is part of the explanation as to why lantana so easily takes over growing locations. However, in your yard or garden, there are a few ways you can safely grow it without lantana taking over.
To begin, be sure you remove the blooms of the plant before they become spent. This stops the plant from reseeding.
Next, be sure to plant many healthy, native plants in the same growing location as lantana. This will ensure your garden doesn’t have barren locations.
The areas without something growing are where lantana likes to take root. Therefore, if you have strong plants that are surrounding your lantana, there shouldn’t be anywhere for the plant to spread.
Finally, be sure to check with your local agricultural office for tips on native insects to the area which might consider lantana a food source.
If you have a beneficial insect in your garden that will graze upon some of the lantana plants, they can help you keep this plant in check.
Remember, any time you care for lantana it’s wise to cover your hands and arms with a sleeved shirt and gloves to avoid skin irritations.
Should you decide to grow lantana, be sure to do so with caution. If you’re concerned this plant will take over a specific area, you can always grow it in a container.
You should still snip the plant’s blooms to stop seeds from spreading. By taking this step, it should certainly make things more difficult for lantana to invade the area.
In short, lantana is an invasive plant. It should be grown with caution, and you should have a plan in place to control lantana before you set out to grow it.