Flowering time (month)
Ornamental or utility value
nectar or pollen plant
The Wandelröschen (Lantana) is a tropical beauty from America and belongs to the vervain family (Verbenaceae). The specimens available here as pot plants are breeding forms (Camara hybrids) of the wild species Lantana camara. In the humid and warm regions of South Africa and Australia, this dainty plant is anything but shy: Here it spreads so strongly on pastures and in forests that it was partly forbidden as an ornamental plant. This danger does not exist in our climate – the beauty of the pot may therefore transform our summer terraces into colourful flower oases at will.
The Wandelröschen grows naturally as a shrub with overhanging, bristly branches. Since the tropical shrub is not hardy in our country, it is mostly offered here as a tall stem or balcony flower.
The Wandelröschen bears opposite dark green, oval leaves with a serrated edge. The leaves are wrinkly and hairy and feel somewhat rough – with their special leaf structure the plants are well adapted to summer droughts.
Already the name Wandelröschen suggests a change in the flower colour. The tubular flowers with their hemispherical heads appear from May to October and change colour after flowering, for example from orange to yellow or carmine red. Lantana is also available in white and pink varieties. If you would like to take home a colourful potpourri of many bright summer colours when you buy your plants, the Wandelröschen will give you the purest pleasure – the inflorescences of the popular tub plant provide a constantly changing spectacle. The buds always open from the outside inwards, so that the last buds inside the inflorescence, for example, just bloom yellow, while the other buds present themselves to the outer edge with increasing age in a stronger becoming orange. However, there are also varieties in which the colour change is only slightly pronounced and which appear almost monochrome.
Despite its beauty, it should be noted that the plant is poisonous in all parts. If withered flowers are not removed, first green and then shiny black spherical stone fruits are formed, which are both unripe and very poisonous when ripe. However, some birds tolerate the berries problem-free and provide so for the spread of the seeds.
Location and substrate
A sunny location is most important for the easy-care balcony and terrace plants. Only in the sun does the beauty from the tropics of Central America unfold its full splendour. Cool weather phases in summer lead to a standstill in growth. Only when the sun is shining again and the temperatures are climbing do the plants continue to grow and flower. This is why Wandelröschen appreciate long, hot summers and then flower particularly richly. A good pot plant soil is sufficient as substrate for the flowering shrub. Excess irrigation water should drain off well.
From May to September, Wandelröschen not only attract our attention, but also bees and butterflies. Since Wandelröschen are not hardy in our country, they are best planted in pots. These can be somewhat larger – the more soil the plant has at its disposal, the rarer it has to be watered. Depending on their age, the tub plants are repotted every year until every three years in March – towards the end of the wintering phase. Although Wandelröschen are tolerant of dryness, a lack of water causes the flowers to wilt quickly. Never let the earth dry out completely. In order for the full flowering splendour to unfold, you should also fertilize sufficiently – either weekly with a liquid fertilizer or with long-term fertilizer that is mixed into the soil at the beginning of the season.
In addition to the long-shooting, vigorous varieties, more and more small Lantana varieties are being marketed, which hardly need to be kept in shape – they are usually cultivated in balcony boxes for only one season. Plants bought in May do not need to be pruned during the summer. Exception: The preservation cut at the Hochstämmchen. Removing withered inflorescences promotes the formation of new flowers. At the beginning of new growth in March/April, the shoots of the overwintered Wandelröschen are shortened to a length of 10 to 15 centimetres to form strong young shoots, because old shoots are rotten in bloom. Now the crown of the standard stems should also be shaped with a strong back cut. Use sharp scissors for cutting, as the shoots will become woody. Wandelröschen are generally very cut-tolerant and vigorous.
Like most warmth-loving exotic plants, the tub plant does not spend the cold season outside, but in frost-free winter quarters. Wandelröschen are best wintered brightly and airily at about ten degrees. Depending on the light and temperature conditions, the plants throw off the leaves. If you do not have a bright hibernation place at your disposal, the Wandelröschen can also hibernate in the dark if necessary. Then the crown should already be cut back by half in autumn. In the dark winter quarters the temperature should be between five and ten degrees. Avoid temperature fluctuations, because they can damage the Wandelröschen. Whether in light or dark winter quarters – the earth must never dry out completely over the winter days, but above all not be too wet. As early as possible in the year (February) the Wandelröschen is again more poured and placed warmer. The later one drives the plants again in spring, the later the flower appears in summer.
Wandelröschen can be propagated particularly well with cuttings. In spring, cut off a ten centimeter long shoot end just below a leaf knot and remove the lower leaves. So that new roots can form as quickly as possible, the interface can be dabbed with rooting powder. Then you put them in a small pot with growing soil and pour them on lightly. A transparent foil hood keeps the plants moist. If roots and new shoots have formed, the young plants are converted into a larger pot. The cutting of the shoot tips stimulates the branching. If you want to pull a small tree trunk, you should leave the main shoot uncut until the desired crown height is reached.
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Long-drawn, vigorous varieties are increasingly being replaced by compact varieties that remain small. These can be perfectly combined with other pot bloomers. The more unusual the play of colours, the more popular the variety is. Bandana Pink’ branches very well, grows compactly and has dark green foliage. The two-tone flowers of the Bandana series are considered to be the largest on the market. Calippo Gold’ glows with monochrome chrome yellow flowers and inspires with upright, bushy growth. Esperanta Pink’ adorns itself with flowers in a remarkable colour combination. The Esperanta series is characterised by long flowering times and reduced seed set. Tropic Lantanas Toucan’ is a special eye-catcher with its white-yellow flowers and the Tropic Lantana series is considered to be very early flowering. Esperanta Compact Red’ is a compact growing novelty with bright red-yellow flowers. Esperanta Lemon’ shines with light yellow flowers already at the beginning of the season. Calippo Tutti Frutti’ is a transformation artist in orange, yellow, violet and pink. Lantropics Yellow Cream’ shows beautiful broad leaves and creamy yellow flowers. Tropic Lantanas Flamingo’ provides a tropical flowering summer with early flowers. Large flowers present the two-tone variety ‘Cherry Improved’ (Lantana camara, Bandana series).
Diseases and pests
Particularly in the winter quarter, an infestation with spider mites and gray mold threatens. The higher the hibernation temperature, the greater the risk of pest and disease infestation. Also check the undersides of the Wandelröschen leaves regularly for the white fly. Aphids can occur in summer.
Whether fruit, vegetable and ornamental plants in the garden or indoor plants in the house: spider mites can infest and damage many different plants. Here René Wadas, a herbalist, will tell you his tips on how you can effectively fight the arachnids.Credits: Production: Folkert Siemens; Camera: Fabian Primsch; Editing: Dennis Fuhro, Photos: Flora Press/FLPA, GWI
I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide. I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.