When I was asked to trial the new Luscious Citron lantana, my first thought was: Why in the world do we need another yellow lantana? But six months later, I know the answer. It has to do with butterflies. I’ll get to that in a minute.

Let’s start by looking at orange. There is a huge group of gardeners who think orange is too gaudy for the garden. The Garden Guy loves orange, and the more “Good Lawdy How Gaudy” the better. We know, however, that once we tone it down or neutralize it a little by changing it to apricot or salmon, this group of gardeners will accept the color. It is like soft-pedaling orange.

Another large group feels the same way about yellow. There is a reason the school bus is yellow. It gets immediately noticed; it grabs all the attention. How do you soft-pedal yellow, so to speak? Welcome the Luscious Citron lantana, making its debut in 2022. Some might call it a pastel, but if you have ever seen a citron fruit, this nails it.

Luscious Citron will soft-pedal the color yellow into every gardener’s heart. This is a lantana with a wonderful habit, reaching 30 inches tall and wide. If it ever sets a fruit, it is unknown to me, as those I planted have not had the first one. It simply just keeps growing and blooming at the right pace.

I used Luscious Citron in and around Pugster Blue and Lo & Behold Ruby Chip buddleias. Both are compact in habit and made perfect companions in color combinations and their ability to bring in an assortment of pollinators.

I found it particularly thrilling to see that Luscious Citron was featured at the Young’s Plant Farm 2021 Garden Tour in Auburn, Alabama. They combined it with Augusta Lavender Blue heliotrope, also making its debut in 2022, and Truffula Pink gomphrena. To be honest, this partnership was incredible and looked as though it was a palette of pastels designed by an artist.

Luscious Citron will bring the series to 11 colors. Their needs are simple: They need plenty of sun and fertile, well-drained soil. Proven Winners touts their cold-hardiness as perennial in Zones 9 and warmer — and thus a terrific annual in Zones 8 and colder.

I am growing Luscious Golden Gate, Citrus Blend, Royale Cosmo and Marmalade. In my Zone 8a garden, all returned from last winter, which had a lot of freezing hours but no record cold. We will see what happens this winter. My experience says they will be more cold-hardy the second year.

Despite all the other butterfly nectar options, the Luscious Citron has been a favorite. Giant swallowtails, Easter tiger swallowtails and spicebush swallowtails have all been regulars feeding on the blooms. The smaller American lady butterflies have also made frequent visits.

As a horticulturist, my most frequent question on lantanas is that once the blooming has stopped, what can I do? Lantanas need to be kept in an active state of growth for continual blooms. Cutting back to stimulate growth, feeding and watering during drought periods are all part of the regimen over a long hot summer.

Luscious Citron has the ability to keep blooming until frost, rivaling any other plant in the garden. I hope you will give it a try. I am sure it will soft-pedal yellow into your heart, too.

Norman Winter, horticulturist, garden speaker and author of “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South” and “Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden.” Follow him on Facebook @NormanWinterThe GardenGuy.

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