Lantana

Today let’s talk about a flowering plant that is native to the tropical Americas. The Purple Training Lantana and New Gold Lantana, or Lantana montevidensis and Lantana x ‘New Gold’ respectively, are outstanding examples of the Lantana family. The Purple Training flourishes in USDA Zones 8-10, while the New Gold does best in USDA Zones 10-11. Both of these plants like to be in full to part sun. However, full sun will result in the best blooms!

While these have some visual similarities, they also vary quite a bit. The Purple Trailing is larger in size growing to 1’-2’ tall and 3’-5’ wide. In addition, there are a few varieties that can come in under 3’ in width. The New Gold, on the other hand, grows to 1’-1.5’ tall and 1.5’-2’ tall on average.

When it comes to looks, the Purple Training brings fragrant, coarse-toothed, slightly-hairy, dark green foliage filled with year-round purple blooms. The New Gold has a showy presentation with its yellow blooms from spring through summer in most climates. In frost free regions, it can bloom all year round as well. Both of these variants attract butterflies and are deer tolerant.

And when it comes to maintenance, both are considered very easy to plant and flourish. Once established, the New Gold is heat loving and only requires occasional watering. The Purple Training is considered strong at handling coastal exposure, wind, extreme heat/drought, all soil types and Ph. Overall, it’s clear that both of these are an easy choice for adding color to your outdoors. And if you aren’t a fan of purple or yellow, have no fear. There are about 150 different species of Lantana. Needless to say, these will have you covered no matter what your favorite color may be.

© HDG Landscape Design, 2020

Philodendron

Searching for a large, exotic feature to your tropical landscape? A great addition is Split-Leaf Philodendron, or Philodendron bipinnatifidum, which sports huge, palm-like, dark green-lobed leaves.

Reaching 12-15′ in height and with a potentially matching width, this seemingly tropical and moisture loving plant actually prefers well drained fertile soils with an opportunity for the soil to dry out somewhat between watering. This plant does well in part-sun to part-shade conditions, is heat tolerant, but not very drought tolerant. Philodendron does produce white flowers, but they are inconspicuous and should be removed promptly to encourage leaf growth. Split-Leaf Philodendron is known to produce aerial roots which allows it to climb far past its published growth.

Native to the jungles of tropical America, easy-growing Philodendron loves humid conditions and thrives best in the Houston areas in USDA hardiness zones 8-11. (Hint:  Mimic any plant’s native habitat for best growth.) This plant is not a preferred option for the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, but if planted, make sure to protect leaf growth from frost to prevent damage as these plants are only cold tolerant to 36 degrees Fahrenheit.

Philodendron can also be a great house plant as long as its leaves are washed regularly and misted often. It will tolerate low light but thrives in medium light indoors. Re-potting is needed as the plant’s roots get larger, and this is best done in the months of active growth (late winter or spring). Although a massive plant outdoors, Philodendron will not reach its full potential indoors.

Xanadu Philodendron is an excellent dwarf variety of Philodendron that gives a landscape a tropical feel without becoming an overbearing addition. ‘Xanadu’ is commonly propagated by divisions of the rootball, and only grows to be 4′ tall and wide. Its compact form can be used more readily as a minor accent, border, container plant, and house plant.

 

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© HDG Landscape Design, 2017