Lantana Montevidensis (Purple Trailing Lantana) Plant Care Guide

Lantana Montevidensis

Last Updated on October 31, 2021 by Phil

The Lantana montevidensis is more commonly known as the purple trailing lantana because of its physical features. It likewise has many other common names including Sellow’s lantana, weeping lantana, railing lantana and a few more.

Just so you know the, it was previously called Lantana sellowiana.

The plant is a dense flowering shrub that grows up to about 20 inches long and around 10 inches from side to side. Its trailing nature makes it crawl on the ground.

This feature, along with the plants wide spreading (5 feet) root system makes it a popular ground cover plant.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that its fragrant and beautiful clusters of purple flowers covered by dark green foliage background is lovely to look at.

The Lantana montevidensis is a native of Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii. You’ll also see it in the southern states.

Lantana Montevidensis Plant Care

Lantana Montevidensis Light

Lantana montevidensis grows best with full sun. As such, it is a good idea to plant it somewhere that’s exposed to at least 6 hours of sunlight on a daily basis.

The plant likewise grows in part shade. So if you don’t have a spot in your yard that gets 6 or more hours a day, you can settle for something that gets between 2 to 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.

That said, it is worth noting that it produces more flowers under full sun.

Because this flowering shrub can get dense, people often use it to offer shade to other lower growing plants.

Because it doesn’t mind warm to hot conditions, the best position for your purple trailing lantana is somewhere facing south. This gives it the most light including morning and afternoon sun.

You can likewise keep it east or west facing which offers enough sunlight through the day.


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Lantana Montevidensis Temperature & Humidity

The Lantana montevidensis is hardy to USDA zones 8 to 10. As such, it likes warm to very hot weather between 15 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It doesn’t mind intense or harsh sunlight and drought. This makes it ideal for locations that get a lot of sunlight.

More importantly, if you fulfill these 3 requirements, you’ll be rewarded by its beautiful colors.

As you would imagine, the plant doesn’t like cold weather. As such, if you live below zone 8, it’s not a good idea to grow in on the ground. Frost and snow will kill the plant. Although many people keep it as an annual in these regions.

Thus, it is a good idea to apply mulch over the soil if you live in zone 8. This will allow the plant to doe back in the winter.

One final thing to know about the plant is that it is salt tolerant as well. This makes it okay to grow it near beaches and other areas where the soil may be saturated with salt from water.


Lantana Montevidensis Watering

The purple trailing lantana is not a thirsty plant. This makes is low maintenance in this aspect once it has become established. However, keep it mind that it cannot tolerate drying out. So, make sure water occasionally to keep the soil from completely going dry.

Also, keeping it in a container means that you’ll need to water it more than in the ground. Soil tends to dry faster in pots especially during the drier, warmer months.

However, do avoid overwatering. Because the plant doesn’t particularly like a lot of moisture, it will have problems with excess moisture.

Similarly, it is susceptible to powdery mildew, which is also moisture related. This means you don’t want to water over the plant. Instead, pour water directly onto the soil.

This keeps its foliage dry. Under bright sunlight this is also less of a problem especially with good air circulation. But, it becomes more prone under shade.



From the previous section, you can already guess that the plant likes slightly dry soil. This makes sandy soil ideal because it speeds up drainage, reducing overall moisture.

In addition with occasional watering, this will allow you to avoid moisture problems and give the plant what is likes.

If you’re growing it in a container, make sure the pot has drainage holes underneath. You may also want to add sand to your potting mix to ensure sufficient drainage.

Lantana montevidensis also prefer neutral pH soil. Anything between 6.0 to 8.0 works well. When planting, you’ll need about 1 to 3 feet of garden space to plant it.



Lantana montevidensis only need light feeding, it at all. What I mean by that is unless your garden soil is low in organic matter, you don’t need to feed the plant.

Most gardens, even if you don’t have the highest quality soil, will offer enough nutrients to sustain the plant food-wise.

That said, if you have poor soil, it is a good idea to lightly fertilize it during springtime. To do so, use a balanced fertilizer, either 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 will work.

If you’re growing the plant in a container, you’ll likewise need to add fertilizer since potting soil doesn’t contain nutrients garden soil has, except for the initial starter dose. After that, you’ll need to supply sustenance via plant food.

In this case, apply a balanced liquid fertilizer every 2 to 4 weeks during the spring.

As always, start on the more conservative side and work your way up if you notice the plant isn’t growing as it should. The worst thing you can do here is overfertilizing.

For one, too much fertilizer causes the plant to grow more foliage and focus less on blooming. As such, you get fewer flowers.

More importantly, applying too much fertilizer increases the risk of root burn. Thus, it is also a good idea to water deeply after your feed the plant. This helps reduce its concentration and helps distribute it evenly so no part of the roots get too much concentration.


Pruning Lantana Montevidensis

Lantana montevidensis is a fast, aggressive grower. This feature makes it invasive in some regions. As such, it is important to prune it regularly to keep it under control. This is the biggest reason to prune your purple trailing lantana.

Trimming also helps promote new growth making your plant look fuller. In fact, you can cut it back all the way down to a foot from the soil.

When pruning, make sure to remove the dead, damaged and discolored foliage as well.



lantana montevidensis

source: wikimedia commons

The plant can be propagates via stem cutting and division. You can likewise grow them from seed. Although this method takes much longer than the other two.

How to Propagate Lantana montevidensis from Seed

That said, because the plant reseeds at the end of the season, you don’t have to go out and purchase them from your local garden supply store. Instead, just collect the seeds after its growing season is done and sow them come spring.

How to Propagate Lantana montevidensis via Stem Cutting

  • In spring, take a stem cutting. You want to choose a healthy stem that’s about 4 to 5 inches long. Ideally, you want the branch to have at least a few leaves on it.
  • Remove the lowest leaves and plant the cutting into potting soil. You can dip the end in rooting hormone to speed up the process. For the potting mix, use a mixture of peat moss and perlite.
  • Water the soil and keep the plant in a warm, humid area.
  • After a few weeks it will start to root.
  • When the new plant looks stable and sturdy enough, you can transplant it to your garden. Alternatively, you can wait for it to outgrow its current container and repot it to a bigger one if you want to keep it in a pot.

How to Propagate Lantana montevidensis through Division

  • To divide the plant, dig it up and take the root ball out.
  • Inspect the root ball and look for any signs of problems. Check the roots for black, brown or mushiness. If you see them, trim these away. While you’re at it, brush away excess soil as well.
  • Find a few stems that look like good candidates to grow separately. When you do, trace them down to the root ball and see where their roots are connected.
  • From here, you’ll be able to tell which section of the root ball to separate. Depending on how many new plants you want, you can separate one or two sections. Division is a good way to reduce or limit the size of the mother plant as well since you’re “cutting away” part of it to grow separately.
  • Use your hands or a sterilized knife to separate the section/s of the root ball.
  • Plant each of the sections separately. Make sure they’re put in well-draining soil.
  • Return the mother plant into the ground and backfill the hole.
  • Water each of the plants.


Transplanting & Repotting

The best time to transplant your purple trailing lantana is during the spring. You can likewise do it in the fall. Make sure the weather isn’t too hot when you do because it adds to the stress experienced by the plant from being moved.

To transplant,

  • Dig a hole that’s big enough for the plant. You want to have more rather than less space because its roots are delicate. If you can try to avoid having to do too much with the roots.
  • If your soil is heavy, you can dig deeper and add a layer of sand before placing the plant into the hole. This will improve drainage.
  • Remove the plant from the pot gently and place it into the hole you just dug.
  • Backfill the hole with soil then water.



The Lantana montevidensis is toxic to both people and animals. It’s leaves, fruit and sap are all poisonous. So, do keep it away from young kids, dogs or cats that may get curious.

Ingesting these parts can cause mild to more serious problems which range from irritation, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and diarrhea. Small pets like chickens, cats and dogs are more susceptible as they can experience liver and other internal organ damage.


Pests and Disease

The plant is fairly resilient when it comes to pests and diseases. As long as you take good care of it by giving it’s the conditions above, you likely won’t have to deal with any of these isssues.

That said, do watch out for powdery mildew and fungal problems. These come with moisture issues. Either too much watering or allowing the plant to get wet and not having enough sun or airflow around it to speed up drying.

If you keep it under full sun in warm conditions, this should not be a problem unless you water over the plant on a regular basis.

As far as pests go, whiteflies can occur although rare. If they do, use insecticidal soap or neem oil to treat it.

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