By: Teo Spengler
Lantana is beloved for its bright flowers that last all summer long and for its reputation as an easy-care shrub. Unfortunately, even lantana can get diseases and need gardener care. Many times the disease results from inappropriate cultural care. Read on for a discussion of lantana plant diseases and tips for treating diseases in lantana.
Even low-maintenance lantana will suffer if you don’t treat it appropriately. Your first defense against diseases that affect lantana is to learn what lantana needs to thrive and provide it. Generally, this includes a sunny location with well-draining soil. Otherwise, it may come down with one of the following diseases of lantana plants.
Powdery Mildew – Lantana loves sun, and should not be grown in shade. If you grow this vigorous plant in a shady area, it may come down with powdery mildew. You can recognize this fungal disease by the white or gray powdery substance that covers its leaves and stems. This disease, like many lantana plant diseases, doesn’t usually kill the plant. However, it may cause distorted, discolored leaves.
For powdery mildew, treating diseases in lantana is not difficult. You can control powdery mildew by rinsing off the plants as soon as you see the symptoms. Then you should apply neem oil to the leaves every few weeks.
Botrytis Blight – Botrytis blight, also called gray mold, is another of the fungal diseases that affect lantana. It is caused by excess moisture. Generally, plants do not get this disease if you avoid overhead watering.
If your lantana has botrytis blight, you’ll see wet, brown spots on the leaves that soon get covered over by gray mold. You should treat this disease with a fungicide that contains fenhexamid or chlorothalonil.
You’ll find that there are a few other diseases that affect lantana. One of them is sooty mold that discolors the lantana leaves. Sooty mold is most often caused by an infestation of whiteflies or similar sap-sucking insects. Treat the insects or you’ll have a hard time getting rid of the disease.
If you don’t offer your lantana plants the excellent drainage they need, lantanas can get root rot. This might also be a problem if you water too often.
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When they are in good health, lantanas (Lantana spp.) add brilliant pops of orange, white, yellow, purple and red to your garden. The colorful display adds visual impact and attracts butterflies for an even more spectacular experience. Though lantanas are prized as easy-to-maintain plants, they are not immune to disease. Like all species of lantana, dwarf varieties are at risk of disease. Fortunately, the issues that do arise are both easy to avoid and treatable.
Powdery mildew leaves a white, powdery coating of fungal spores on lantana leaves. The moldy spots can range in color from yellow to purple and affect entire leaves and can also appear on other plant parts. The affected leaves often become shriveled and brown, while blooms are often distorted. Shading and overcrowding of plants often leads to the fungus, so to control the problem, prune to remove diseased plant parts and encourage air flow and only plant lantanas in sunny spots.
With so many colors in one plant, Luscious® Citrus Blend™ brings variation to a container even when planted alone. Photo by Proven Winners.
Lantana loves heat and will do best when planted in mid-late spring when all danger of frost is past, after the soil has warmed up.
In a sunny site with fertile, well-draining soil that will stay evenly moist until plants are established.
Loosen soil and amend with compost. Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball and place so the top of the crown is level with the soil surface. Remove plant from container and gently tease out roots if potbound. Place the plant in the hole and backfill. Tamp down soil around the base and water well. Mulch with coarse organic matter or gravel (keeping away from the crown of the plant) to suppress weeds and retain moisture.
Use a high-quality potting soil and make sure the soil and pots drain well.
Depends on the variety and whether it’s being grown as an annual or perennial.
Mealybugs are closely related to many of the scale insects that attack many different types of plants. The name mealybug is derived from the mealy or waxy secretions that cover the body of this insect.
Mealybugs are soft-bodied insects that grow to ¼ inch long. They are found at rest or crawling slowly on stems or along veins on the undersides of leaves. Their eggs are laid in clusters enclosed in white, waxy, cottony material.
Damage by mealybugs is similar to that caused by aphids. It is caused by sucking of plant sap, which stunts or kills the plant. Also, black sooty mold grows on the honeydew excreted by the mealybugs.
Lace bugs are a serious pest problem for lantanas. Lace bugs feed on the leaves, causing the leaves to become yellow and develop brown margins, or become a mottled gray and brown. Serious infestations lead to premature defoliation of the lantanas, which stunts the plants' growth and may prevent the flowers from blooming. Treat lace bugs with a mild pesticide spray, and follow all directions on the package. Pinch off severely damaged leaves to prevent them from hosting diseases.
The unavailability of certain nutrients could potentially cause lantana leaves to develop brown edges or similar symptoms. An advanced iron deficiency leads to the appearance of dead tissue along leaf edges and tips. Inadequate potassium forces marginal chlorosis and eventually causes a burnt appearance. A calcium deficiency can cause the tips of lantana leaves to turn brown, then black, as well as leaf curling or distortion. Phosphorus-deficient plants may develop dead patches along leaf margins and older leaves on phosphorus-deficient plants develop a purple tinge. The proper application of a balanced fertilizer and, if necessary, adjusting the soil pH, usually addresses nutrient deficiencies.