The many shades of Lantana
Soil requirement: Well-drained soil
Habitat: Disturbed areas and along roadsides in limestone and sand
Light requirements: Full-sun to part-shade
Environment tolerance: Drought-tolerant
Nature attracting: All Lantana species will invite butterflies to their blooms and many birds to their fruits
Lantana has a wide distribution from Cuba to South America, across to the Greater and Lesser Antilles.
Many Lantana species are found on all three of the Cayman Islands.
Different species of Lantana have a specific fragrance that varies from pleasantly aromatic to musky, which is considered part of their identity. Depending on the soil pH value, the different colour blooms will also vary in brilliance. Mostly erect, the growth habit varies from ‘V’ shape to round and full. Black seeds will follow after the bloom maturity.
A Lantana in bloom will always create a splash of colour. Using a taller species, like Lantana X bahamensis or Lantana involucrata, with smaller ones, like Lantana camara and Lantana aculeate, would give the impression of a cascading mass of colour and a manageable wild butterfly garden.
Mercille has called Grand Cayman home since 1997 and she has a keen interest in local flora. She is curator for the National Trust Herbarium and has created an online database for public viewing of the physical herbarium. She is also webmaster for www.caymanflora.org and owns Caribbean Blooms – a native plant nursery. She is an avid gardener and member of the Garden Club of Grand Cayman.