October 10, 2015.
I have successfully wintered some very large lantanas but also continue to lose a few each winter. A friend suggested that" Lady Luck" is a main factor. How severely does one cut back a lantana prior to mulching? And do you have any suggestions on winter preparation? Would covering them with plastic be of any benefit?
I would say more like Mother Nature versus Lady Luck. A lot has to do with how cold it gets and for how long. Lantana is an iffy perennial in central Arkansas, a pretty proven perennial in south Arkansas and definitely an annual in NW Arkansas unless you are growing a hardy variety like Miss Huff. Some folks don’t cut back their plants until spring, thinking the dead top debris adds to their layer of mulch, while others cut back and then mulch. Whichever method you use, let the plant experience a killing frost before you add the extra mulch. If you mulch the plant before it goes dormant, it will rot during the winter. How wet our winter is and how well drained your site is can also play a role in winter survival. Sitting in wet soil can also cause the root system to rot. Plastic is not my recommendation—something breathable is best—a large cardboard box or something similar. But in reality, lantanas are readily available to plant each season, so in a worst case scenario, you are supporting the green industry by buying new plants!
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