West Indian Lantana: How To Plant, Grow, Care
West Indian Lantana is a plant that is native to Central and South American countries. It can be found in the wild or as an ornamental plant in gardens all over North America. Lantana plants are considered noxious weeds by many organizations. One way to stop them from spreading if you’re landscaping your property is to remove any leaves, branches, roots, or other vegetation that may contain seeds.
West Indian Lantana Common Names
West Indian Lantana has numerous common names, including Devil’s Claw and Black Flag, because of its patterned leaves with black spots on them.
A shrub or small tree that can grow to 10 feet tall and wide is called a West Indian Lantana. The leaves are green, glossy, and deeply lobed. The flowers are small and inconspicuous, growing in clusters of white. The leaves of a West Indian Lantana plant can grow in a spiral design or opposite the stem. It produces small white flowers with greenish-yellow centers and dark-colored seed pods with hooked barbs.
How to Grow West Indian Lantana?
Step 1-Harvest and collect the seeds. The seeds will germinate at about 80-degree Fahrenheit. This tropical plant must be stored under excellent conditions. The seeds will sprout within a few weeks after adding water at room temperature or slightly above, so long as there is little to no moisture.
Step2: Prepare a seed tray or flat-bottom planting tray by peeling off the lantana plant’s outer leaves and any other dead leaves that may be on the lantana plants. Wipe out any seeds from the pods that may already be in the tray. Then place three to five lantana seeds into each starter pot.
It is recommended to use 10 to 15 cm (four-inch) pots for this purpose. Put your lantanas into the banks at a depth of eight to ten inches, covering them with about half an inch of soil for good drainage and keeping them moist but not wet. This way, there won’t be a problem with overwatering.
Place the seeds in a sunny but not hot location with indirect sunlight and a temperature range of 16–20 degrees Celsius. This plant needs to experience temperatures ranging between 18 and 24 degrees Celsius at all times. Make sure that the soil is well-drained. West Indian Lantana seedlings are slow to develop and will not build their first set of leaves for several years after germination, but they can grow and start to flower in as little as four years from germination.
Step 3-Enrich your soil with compost or aged manure, giving your plants better growth rates than usual potting soil. You can also add bone meal for a healthy quick growth rate and some slow-release fertilizer.
When watering your plants, water them from below with tepid to warm water. If the temperature is low, you can use a bottom watering tray or a pump to ensure that the roots stay warm and moist.
Step 5-Once your plant is established and well-rooted, you can transplant it into bigger pots as needed or directly into the ground to provide enough space for your West Indian Lantana to grow without interfering with other plants.
One reason why West Indian Lantana becomes invasive is that it proliferates after being transplanted.
See Also: Hellebores Plant, Grow And Care
How to care for West Indian Lantana
The Lantana plant is a tropical plant that needs warmth and lots of light to grow.
West Indian lantanas prefer soil that is rich and well-drained. So, you need to add more compost or manure to the ground to make it more fertile.
West Indian lantana needs a lot of water, especially during the first few weeks after transplanting. It can get thirsty pretty quickly, and sometimes you will have to water it several times a week to keep it happy.
West Indian Lantana hates cold temperatures, so make sure they stay warm and well-watered at all times. They also have sensitive root systems, which means they don’t do very well when the temperature drops or when there is no winter sun.
Propagation of West Indian Lantana
These plants can be propagated by seed. Collect the source at maturity, when the seed pods turn brown and split open. Since this plant is a tropical plant, it may take several years before matures enough to produce seeds. West Indian Lantana, however, has a shorter life cycle in warmer climates than usual and can flower within only two or three years after being transplanted into the ground.
The seeds should be planted in a pot of well-drained soil with lots of organic material mixed in. The pot should have plenty of room for root growth as these plants have expansive root systems.
Repotting of West Indian Lantana
West Indian Lantana can be grown in standard pots and large containers. If the plants have been in a small pot for a long time, it is essential to move them into a pot that is just big enough for them to grow properly. Make sure they are sufficiently watered and well-drained before repotting.
Trimming is a good idea if you want your plant to grow larger. You can trim off any branches that are growing upwards. Make sure that the branches you trim off of your plant do not let all of their light and water go to waste on the part you have just cut away. It is important to make sure your plant has an attractive shape and is healthy at all times to ensure its survival.
Hibernation in West Indian Lantana
West Indian Lantana will go into dormancy in the winter months. You can put your plant into a cool basement or shed if necessary, as this is a good way to keep it alive through the coldest months of the year.
After hibernation, when West Indian Lantana is not dormant, it will still need to grow and rejuvenate. You can make sure they have good light to grow. If they are not growing well or taking a long time to grow, you can spray them with water with a strong fertilizer mixed in to get them going again.
Replanting of Lantana
If your West Indian Lantana is getting too big for its pot, you can easily plant it in the ground if you have already prepared a spot for it to grow. Prepare the soil with lots of compost, manure, and mixed organic matter.
You should be concerned with no pest problems while growing West Indian Lantana. However, if you have excessive growth, consider trimming back some branches so that your plant doesn’t get too big and unruly.
Ways of protecting West Indian Lantana from pests and diseases
The West Indian lantana plant contains chemicals that inhibit different insects from eating its leaves and seeds, which helps the plant survive many predators. These chemicals are known as phytochemicals or plant medicines. Many plant enthusiasts are starting to investigate the medicinal value of this plant, which has been proven to be antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory.
Insecticides contain chemicals that kill insects by attacking their nervous systems or destroying their feeding ability. If your plants get infested with pests, you may use some pesticides, but make sure that you follow proper safety procedures when using these chemicals.
If you want an organic solution for insect control, you may use “Bacillus thuringiensis,” also known as BT. BT is a bacterium that is harmful to different insects, and it can be used as an internal pesticide or an external spray. Other good organic insecticides are garlic oil, neem oil, and diatomaceous earth.
There are no diseases that threaten lantana plants, but some diseases that affect humans may be passed on to lantana if you ingest its leaves. If you plan on using this plant for cooking purposes, make sure that you wash the plant thoroughly at least once after using it in your cooking so that the seeds don’t get contaminated by any existing disease that may have been on the surface of your hands or nails.
West Indian Lantana Toxicity
The West Indian lantana plant contains alkaloids that affect the nervous system. You may use some plants for pest and disease control, but make sure you know what drug you are using because of its toxicity levels. Do not consume the seeds or leaves of the plant if you have a medical condition such as arthritis, high blood pressure, or pregnancy.
The medicinal properties of the West Indian lantana plant
Medicinally, the plant has antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. It can act as an analgesic to reduce pain, a sedative to make people feel calm, and a stimulant to help people feel energetic. The leaves, stems, flowers, and roots can all be used for medicinal purposes.
Some of the compounds found in the plant are lantadene A and B, and lactone B. The plant also contains different flavonoids, such as naringenin chalcone, responsible for its antioxidant effects on human health. The plant has been used with other herbs to help treat cancer, inflammation of the stomach lining, colds, and coughs.
Can you make tea with lantana?
You can make tea from lantana, but you would have to drink it very often to get any real medicinal effects from it. Most of the medicinal benefits of lantana are believed to come from the root or stem. Instead, you can use the leaves or flowers as a garnish on your soup.
Other than making tea, how else can I use this plant?
Other than drinking tea made with lantana leaves, you could also use other parts of the plant in your cooking. You may use the seeds or flowers to make a garnish for your soup or add them to a salad. You can also use the plant’s stems, leaves, and roots in your bathwater.
There is no real risk of toxicity from consuming lantana, but you should avoid using it while pregnant or breastfeeding. The human body reacts differently to each different plant when it comes to some allergic reactions, so make sure you consult a doctor if you have any concerns about using lantana in any way.
West Indian lantana berries
West Indian lantana can be used to make berry wine. Berries must be harvested when they are fully ripe to ensure that they ferment well. You can crush the berries with a pressing machine and then put them in a fermentation bucket. Add one gallon of water to the berries and allow them to sit for a couple of weeks.
After two weeks, transfer the liquid into a secondary fermentation bucket and let it sit for another few months before bottling it. The lantana berries will take on a black color as they ferment over time, and you may boil them down and strain out some of the extra “grit” as well if you find it necessary.
A refreshing drink made with West Indian lantana fruit has several health benefits. The antioxidants in this plant are known to increase the body’s immunity and help fight against illnesses. You can make your own “juice” by taking a deciliter of berries and pouring them into a clean glass or stainless steel container with one liter of water and lemon juice.
You may also add some coconut milk to make it more palatable. Before drinking, you can add finely shredded beetroot to give it an appealing red color to complement the lantana’s green color.
Lantana roots in the West Indies
West Indian Lantana has medicinal properties usually attributed to its roots, leaves, and flowers. This plant is mainly used as an anti-inflammatory agent with antiseptic properties. Hence, it helps in healing wounds and soothing pain. The plant is also rich in antioxidants that eliminate free radicals and have cardioprotective effects.
The West Indian lantana plant is widely used as a decorative plant. It may also be used to get rid of insects and as a culinary herb. The West Indian lantana plant has many different uses. The plant’s roots can be found in a lot of medicines because of their antibacterial activity.
Are the berries on lantana edible?
Yes, the berries on a lantana plant are edible. They are usually red to black and resemble blackberries.