By Susan Landis-Steward, The Writers Network Last updated on January 20th, 2011

Lantana is a fast-growing perennial, and due to its rapid growth, it requires occasional pruning to look its best.  Lantana has bright, colorful flowers on bushes ranging from one to six feet tall and up to four feet wide. Many of the varieties of lantana have clusters of flowers that have two or more colors. Lantana is a good choice if you want to attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden. Some varieties, like Sonset, have flowers that change colors throughout the day.

The plant does well in Southern states, but is not a good choice north of Georgia as they are susceptible to cold winters. In USDA zones 7, 8, and 9, lantana is an excellent choice to add color to the garden. While lantana is an attractive border plant when in bloom, it loses much of its attractiveness when it stops blooming. Most gardeners recommend pruning the plant in January. All parts of the lantana plant are toxic so use care with children and animals. In some people, the plant can cause rashes and itching.

Prune lantana back to about 12 inches in January and cover with three inches of pine straw to protect the plant from winter freezes. This winter pruning is to remove old growth and prevent woodiness. Throughout the growing season, prune lantana by cutting off tip growth to force continuous blooming. If the plant becomes too large, you can cut it back to one-third its size in both height and width. Water and fertilize after such drastic pruning to encourage the plant to bloom again as quickly as possible.

Do not prune lantana in the fall as this can make the plant less resistant to cold. When the flowers fade, remove the berries that form. The berries take energy away from the plant and will interfere with its ability to bloom for longer periods of time.  If you stick to these easy pruning tips, your lantana should remain