Plant Colorful Lantana Flowers for Butterflies

Grow lantana in butterfly gardens to attract more of these nectar lovers. Learn tips for growing lantana flowers.

lantana butterflyCourtesy Laura Trepkus
A painted lady butterfly visits lantana flowers growing in a container

Do you enjoy butterflies? I love to see them fluttering around my garden. Usually I see a butterfly on lantana flowers. Lantana are one of the most colorful plants in the garden. Each ‘flower’ is actually made up of florets. Lantanas pack a punch with each tiny, fragrant bloom.

Butterflies Love Lantana

Clusters of nectar-filled blooms make lantana a magnet for pollinators. What I love about lantana is that by adding it to my garden, I not only add beauty—I attract butterflies as well. Butterflies of all kinds seem to share my affinity for lantana. Giant swallowtail, monarch, pipevine swallowtail, queen, red-spotted purple, zebra longwing, spicebush swallowtail, Julia Heliconian, checkered white, cloudless sulphur, gulf fritillary, great southern white and many more butterflies are attracted to lantana.

Hummingbirds also love this plant, but deer leave it alone. Songbirds nibble on the berries later in the season.

Lantana Flower Colors

Flowers range in color, and some cultivars have several bright hues per bunch, creating a tie-dye effect. Lantana comes in many different solid colors, including yellow, purple, white and red. Check out our favorite late-blooming fall flowers that attract butterflies.

Lantana Flower Care

  • Lantana camara, Annual to Zone 9
  • Attracts: hummingbirds, butterflies
  • Light needs: Full sun
  • Size: Three to 4 feet tall and 1 to 3 feet wide; annuals are smaller
  • Grown for: Low-maintenance; showy flowers that wildlife love
  • Foliage: Shiny, toothed leaves
  • Cultivars to try: Tropical Temptation Mimosa’s magenta and yellow blooms offer a slice of paradise. Mary Ann provides a more classic look.

purple trailing lantanaNoelle Johnson

Trailing lantana (Lantana montevidensis) looks great when planted in the ground, like these purple flowers above.

Lantana flowers are incredibly easy to grow. They aren’t fussy, need minimal fertilizer and pruning once or twice a year. Lantana will grow in most zones, but keep in mind they are frost-tender, tropical plants. In zones 9 through 11, lantana can be grown as a perennial outdoors all year. Any frost damage they suffer if simply pruned away in spring. If you’re growing lantana as an annual, simply plant in spring, once the threat of frost has passed. Lantana can also be a fabulous container plant. Another option for growing lantana in colder zones is to overwinter these tropical plants indoors in a warm, sunny spot.

Discover the top 16 easy flowers anyone can grow.

So, now matter where you live, add lantana to your butterfly garden and enjoy the pollinators that these flowers will attract.

Noelle Johnson
Noelle Johnson is a horticulturist, writer and certified arborist who lives and gardens in the desert Southwest. She is the CEO and owner of 'AZ Plant Lady,' an education company that aims to help people garden successfully in the desert climate. She is the author of the book, Dry Climate Gardening, and her byline has appeared in publications such as Birds & Blooms and Phoenix Home & Garden magazine. She is an instructor at the Desert Botanical garden and Tucson Botanical Gardens.