Vaughn’s View: Define the New Lantana Introductions
The extensive breeding, development, testing, and introduction of new hybrids and cultivars has been rapid and extensive the past 20 years. For example, the varieties that were available in the 1990s included ‘Confetti’, ‘Dallas Red’, ‘Lavender Weeping’, ‘New Gold’, the Patriot series and ‘Pink Caprice’. This was followed in 2002 by the Luscious series and the Lucky and Landmark series in 2003.
We now have a multitude of international breeders with lantana series in the market. These new lantana introductions in the trials this spring and summer were entered by eight breeders: Syngenta, Ball FloraPlant, Benary, Dümmen Orange, Green Fuse Botanicals, Proven Winners, Danziger and Sakata. This article is a succinct overview of the lantana portfolio of each of these breeders.
What makes these new lantana varieties so significant are the characteristics of heat and drought tolerance, continual flowering, improved branching, sterility, diverse color range, varied plant habits and production application versatility. As the weather becomes more extreme and summer temperatures continue to rise, the low maintenance requirements and the ability to tolerate harsh conditions ensure that the consumer interest and residential and landscape application of this genera will continue to increase.
The highlighted lantana varieties in this article were evaluated at Costa Farms, Young’s Plant Farm, Metrolina Greenhouses, University of Georgia, the Dallas Arboretum, Texas A&M, Penn State and Colorado State University in late spring and early summer.
1. LANTANA ‘LITTLE LUCKY LAVENDER’
(Photo above) This lantana series, when introduced in 2012, was unprecedented in the features and benefits it offered the grower and consumer. It is an early flowering, uniform and compact series for bench run and high density production. Consumers are using this series in patio containers and beds for its controlled growth habit. With the growth we are experiencing in container gardening, this series makes a wonderful component in sun containers. It has the durability and heat and drought tolerance necessary to go the distance and provide color throughout the summer and early fall. There are seven colors available, including the new White and Lavender, which were introduced this year. Lavender is a unique color in the Little Lucky series, as shown in the accompanying photograph from the Young’s Plant Farm trial in early June.
2. LANTANA ‘LUSCIOUS BASKET TANGELO’
The Luscious series was introduced in 2005-06, and Proven Winners continues to add new colors every year. This new introduction offers a spreading, trailing habit with tight internodes and a prolific flower canopy. This variety is considered a new prototype with ease of application in hanging basket combinations. The flower clusters transition from a light yellow in early development to a light peach or pink as they mature. I used this variety as a spiller in my container trial, and it performed as advertised. There are now eight Luscious varieties and four Royale selections for 2023. The Luscious and the Royale subseries have demonstrated their versatility in landscape beds, patio containers and baskets. One of the primary breeding goals of Proven Winners in lantana is minimal seed set; currently Marmalade and Royale Red Zone are certified sterile varieties. We must be ever mindful of the added value that Proven Winners offers with its powerful branding and promotion program. The accompanying photograph is from the Young’s Plant Farm basket trial in early June.
3. LANTANA FUEGO SERIES
Green Fuse Botanicals
Green Fuse Botanicals consistently delivers to the marketplace new, unique, and distinctive annuals and perennials. The lantana Fuego series is new for 2023 and consists of six colors: Gold, Orange, White, Red, Rose and Pink. The series was in multiple trial sites this summer, and it delivered outstanding performance. The series is characterized by a medium habit, uniformity, a tight flowering window and prolific flower canopy; and it matures at 15 to 18 inches in the ground. The color range is broad, and the series will have production application in quarts, gallons, patio containers and hanging baskets. The accompanying photograph is ‘Fuego Orange’ in the landscape beds at Young’s Plant Farm.
4. LANTANA ‘SHAMROCK PEACH IMPROVED’
The breeding, development, testing and marketing of lantana from Ball FloraPlant has been progressive and significant since the introduction of the Lucky and Landmark series in 2003, followed by the Little Lucky series in 2013, the Bloomify series in 2018 and the Shamrock series in 2022. The Shamrock series offers five varieties, including the new Butterscotch Glow and the improved Peach for 2023. In trials in 2021 and in production programs this spring, this series demonstrated outstanding versatility in quarts, mixed containers and hanging baskets. This series has more vigor than the Little Lucky series and a more mounded, symmetrical habit than the Lucky series. What is distinctive is the uniformity, dark foliage, upright habit, large umbels and the prolific flower canopy. The accompanying photograph of the colorful Peach Improved was taken at the Costa trial in late April.
5. LANTANA ‘HEARTLAND ORANGE’
Dümmen Orange introduced the Heartland series last year with a wide range of colors that included Neon, Citrus, Red, Really Red, Sunrise, Sunset and White. Blue Moon and Orange have been added for 2023. Many of the current varieties, as well as the new introductions, were entered in multiple trials this year. What differentiates this series from the Havanas is the increased vigor, which was manifested in trials the past two years and in production programs this spring. Additional attributes include large umbels, low seed set, unique vibrant colors, uniformity and glossy foliage. The accompanying photograph of Heartland Orange is from the Young’s Plant trial in Alabama.
6. LANTANA ‘SUNDANCE PINK’
Sakata entered the lantana market with the Sundance series in 2021 with three introductions: Red, White and Yellow. This was followed up with the new ‘Sundance Pink’ for 2023. The series was in multiple summer trials in 2021 and in multiple trials this spring and summer. This is an early flowering, uniform series with a semi-mounded habit. I was impressed by the new Pink, which is a distinctive and unique color in lantana. The series was trialed and tested as a component with Sakata SunPatiens and Petchoa SuperCals in container trials this summer for heat and drought tolerance, balance and potential recipes. The accompanying photograph is from the Penn State container trial in late August.
7. LANTANA ‘BANDOLISTA RED CHILI’
The demand for manageable, trailing lantana for basket and container production continues unabated, and flower breeders are introducing more series and selections that meet this criteria. Syngenta has introduced a new trailing series for 2023 with four striking varieties having bright and highly saturated flowers. The varieties in this series are Coconut, Mango, Red Chili and Pineapple, which I highlighted in my May article on the Costa trial. This series demonstrated a mounded, slightly trailing habit with tight internodes and large rounded umbels. The series was consistent in form, large inflorescences, vibrant transitional florets and performance in multiple trials this summer including Costa, Young’s Plant Farm, Texas A&M, Colorado State University and Plantpeddler. Red Chili was a trial favorite in the Texas A&M field trial and a top 10 performer in the Plantpeddler trial. The accompanying photo was from the Penn State container trial.
8. LANTANA ‘LUSCIOUS ROYALE LEMON TART’
Proven Winners has introduced two new lantana selections for 2023, ‘Luscious Royale Lemon Tart’ and ‘Luscious Basket Tangelo’. Both varieties were entered in multiple trials. The Royale series is compact and mounded, and Lemon Tart demonstrated these characteristics in trial beds and containers. This variety replaces Bananarama, providing a new selection that is more compatible with the Luscious series. The umbels are bright lemon yellow, and the florets have a deeper yellow throat that creates dynamic and energetic visual intensity. The accompanying photograph was taken at the Costa Premier trial in late April.
9. LANTANA ‘EVITA RED’
The Lantana Evita series was introduced to the American market in 2010 by the European breeder Volmary and has had an uphill battle to gain attention and market share in the competitive lantana world. Benary+ was formed in 2017 to promote and sell selective Volmary and additional generic vegetative items in the American market. This partnership has been significant for the promotion of the lantana Evita series. There are eight colors available, and the attributes include a compact and rounded habit, a prolific flower canopy and uniformity. I have evaluated this series for many years in trials throughout the country; what has impressed me is the production versatility in quarts and consumer application of this series in mixed containers. The accompanying photograph was taken at the Costa Premier trial in late April.
10. LANTANA ‘GEM CITRINE’
Danziger made a splash in the lantana world with the introduction of the vigorous Gem series and the Gem compact subseries in 2020. The vigorous Gem series is comprised of four varieties, including the new Diva Pink and Citrine, which were in multiple trials this summer. Both varieties manifested the characteristics we are familiar with in this series: vigor, floriferousness, large striking umbels and transitional multicolored flowers.
I included a photo of Citrine from the Young’s Plant Farm trial in early June. The Danziger lantana collection offers production application versatility with a wide range of colors and growth habits.
11. LANTANA ‘BANDOLERO LYCHEE’
The Syngenta lantana portfolio is one of the most diverse and versatile in the industry, with multiple classes based on size and habit providing a lantana series for every production program: quarts, gallons, patio containers and hanging baskets. The new Bandolero series is comprised of seven diverse colors characterized by large, rounded umbels, a vigorous habit, and a prolific flower canopy, which was manifested by White Improved and new ‘Bandolero Lychee’ in summer trials. We are witnessing the breeding of more lantana varieties with larger and fuller inflorescences with transitional multicolored florets. The enclosed photograph was from the Young’s Plant Farm trial in early June.
12. LANTANA ‘HAVANA YELLOW’
A lantana article would be incomplete without including the Havana series, which is one of the most uniform, well-branched and versatile lantana series in the market. This series is ubiquitous in spring wholesale and retail programs for its use in bench run production programs. What makes this possible is the narrow flowering window and tight habit of the entire series. There are 10 colors, including the new ‘Havana Yellow’, which was bright and bold in multiple trials this summer. The accompanying photograph was from the Costa Premier trial in late April.