LANTANA GROUND COVE PLANTS: TIPS ON USING THEM AS A GRAY AREA COVER
Tips On Using Lantana As A Gray Area Cover (GRC)
The first thing to do with any gray area plants is to get rid of them! You may have noticed that some plants are growing wild in your yard. They are probably not going to survive if left there, so it would be best if they were removed from the landscape.
Some of these plants could be used as ground covers. If you want to use them as such, then you need to know what you’re doing.
There are two types of gray area plants: those that grow in areas where they aren’t wanted and those that don’t grow anywhere at all. These latter ones can be grown in containers or planted out in the open and will require less care than their non-gray area counterparts.
These plants are often called “novelty” plants because they look different from other plants and have been known to attract unwanted attention. There are several reasons why you might want to use these plants in your landscape:
They look interesting and unusual. They provide shade, which helps keep the soil cool during hot weather. They can be easily pruned into smaller pieces for easy removal later.
Invasive plants are not native to where you live. In fact, they can invade and take over an ecosystem if given the chance. This means they will overgrow everything in their path.
Some of these plants are actually very nice to look at, so why wouldn’t you want them in your yard?
Before you decide to use a gray area plant in your yard, it would probably be best if you learn what types of invasive plants are in your area. The following are some of the worst:
YELLOW LOOSESTRIFE (Lysimachia vulgaris): A pretty yellow flower that blooms July through September, it has become a problem in several areas in the United States. This plant grows best in wet areas, such as along stream banks and near lakes. It will form a thick mat and crowd out other native species.
This plant is hard to kill because it has a long root system with multiple sprouts growing from it. It also spreads by seeds.
TURK’S CAP (Malvaviscus arboreus): These plants are related to okra and hibiscus and can grow up to 15 feet tall. They have large, white flowers and will bloom year-round in some areas. These plants grow best in full sun but can tolerate some shade.
The problem with these plants is that they tend to take over large areas and strangle out other plants. They spread mainly by seeds but the roots can also send up new plants.
PERENNIAL PEA (Lathyrus latifolius): These plants are related to the common pea and are usually grown as annuals. The flowers are purple or pink and can bloom from early spring all the way into fall if given the right conditions. The problem with this plant is it grows everywhere and can quickly take over the area.
It will form a thick mat of vegetation that crowds out other plants. The roots can grow several feet away from the main plant and can develop into new plants. These plants can be easily pulled up but they can also self-seed and sprout new plants without ever being touched.
Sources & references used in this article:
Impact threshold for an alien plant invader, Lantana camara L., on native plant communities by B Gooden, K French, PJ Turner, PO Downey – Biological conservation, 2009 – Elsevier
Allelopathy as a competitive strategy in persistent thickets of Lantana camara L. in three Australian forest communities by CB Gentle, JA Duggin – Plant Ecology, 1997 – Springer
The invasive weed Lantana camara increases fire risk in dry rainforest by altering fuel beds by ZC Berry, K Wevill, TJ Curran – Weed Research, 2011 – Wiley Online Library
Does forest gap size affects population size, plant size, reproductive success and pollinator visitation in Lantana camara, a tropical invasive shrub? by Ø Totland, P Nyeko, AL Bjerknes, SJ Hegland… – Forest Ecology and …, 2005 – Elsevier
Lantana camara L. invasions in dry rainforest ‐ open forest ecotones: The role of disturbances associated with fire and cattle grazing by CB Gentle, JA Duggin – Australian Journal of Ecology, 1997 – Wiley Online Library