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Plantidote of the Day 2011-08-30

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lantana

Lantana montevidensis

'Ham and eggs' lantana

Colorful and easy to grow, lantana comes in lots of different colors, so if you don't like the 'ham and eggs' combination, there's plenty more to choose from, with dazzling names like 'Radiation, 'Confetti' and 'Spreading Sunshine'. These plants are not particular about soil, love heat and need very little water once established. Lantana is usually considered a warm weather plant and recommended for zones 9 through 11. It can survive freezes, though, according to several sources, and a determined gardener can keep it going just about anywhere.

Lantana has a pungent, spicy scent that not everyone likes. But it's a good plant for attracting birds and butterflies and repelling deer. It can be toxic to horses and possibly other large animals, so plant accordingly. Here's another interesting lantana feature -- the flowers change color throughout the day!

If you have ever watched a lantana for a period of time, then you are aware that each little floret of the flower cluster changes colors during the day. If you were able to remember which floret you were looking at and went back three hours later, you would already start to see a change. This trait only holds true for the lantanas with multiple colors.

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Readers, please send twig (twig4now@gmail.com) images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chanterelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.

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