buckeye butterfly is finding the Red Spread lantana to be a
If you are
looking for something constructive to do while under winter’s frigid
grip then search out a source for Red Spread lantana. Lantana is one
of the surefire bets to bloom all summer offering months of riotous
color and all the while attracting butterflies and hummingbirds like
there is no tomorrow.
descriptor is perfect for the award-winning red lantana called Red
Spread. You may not have heard of this one, but it has quickly become
my favorite red selection for its propensity to grow, spread and
produce few seeds or fruit. It serves well as a ground cover, reaching
18 to 24 inches in height with a 36-inch spread.
It seems all
summer that butterflies — like the buckeye, Eastern tiger
swallowtail, long tailed skipper and sulphur — are feeding on the
flowers, along with the ruby throated hummingbirds. The flowers are
really fiery in color. The individual flowers in the cluster start off
a bright orange and quickly mature to the glowing red.
Last season I
planted them in a number of combinations and I was pleased in every
situation. In one area I used Electric Lime coleus as a colorful
backdrop. It quickly reached 3 feet tall and the lime green provided a
wonderful, if not a little gaudy, contrast to the lantana flowers.
area, I planted them in what might be considered a monochromatic
scheme. The companion here was the orange and red selection scarlet
milkweed. It too reached 36-inches plus but served a dual purpose in
bringing in its share of butterflies and hummingbirds.
Then lastly I
used them with Blue Fortune agastache. The bottle brush-like spikes of
blue flowers was a great complementary companion to the both the
orange and the fiery red in Red Spread. The Blue Fortune brought in
not only the butterflies but also a host of bees creating a stunning
garden of pollenating activity.
In all areas the
soil was prepared by bringing in a small truckload of a good fertile
organic planting mix. Raised beds were created to provide superior
drainage and provide a good home for the quickly expanding root ball.
Red Spread is
considered a cold hardy perennial in zones 9 and higher and reliably
root-hardy in zone 8. Don’t let those zones through you in the least
as you could not purchase a better plant for annual color in colder
areas. A six-inch or gallon-sized lantana is not much different in
price when compared to the same sized begonia or petunia.
Your choice of
companions are numerous. Consider using blue salvias like Mystic
Spires blue, the great compact indigo spires variety, or Victoria
Blue, the award-winning mealy cup sage selection. Incorporate
rudbeckias like Tiger Eye Gold and you’ll have a bed that will
dazzle all summer.
When you are
locked in winter’s grip it is a great time to do a little thoughtful
planning to what flowers you will be using in the long summer
landscape. The Red Spread lantana will catch the eye of all your
visitors, including those that will be flying in to feed on the