Novice Perennial Planter Meets the 2021 Winter Storm by Linda Burch

Bright yellow gold lantana flowers of the perennial plants 'New Gold'

Learning to Garden In Texas

In 2013, I moved to Round Rock. Texas, growing Zone 8B. I quickly learned that growing plants as a Master Gardener in Virginia required a whole new learning curve in Texas. I decided to plant Texas native and adaptive perennial plants along with a few annuals to keep the beds in my front and back yard in bloom from at least Spring through Fall each year.  Bulbs, perennial ground covers, and annual seeds round out the planting.

How Did Lantana Weather the Storm?

In my front yard u-shaped bed edged with rocks, I planted Lantana x hybrida ‘New Gold’ in 2019. This area receives afternoon sun on the west side of my front yard. My research indicated that Lantana Gold is hardy in the Texas summer heat and drought conditions. I chose two Lantana from a local nursery and planted them about twenty four inches apart as they would spread over the bed as a groundcover. By the Fall of 2020 the Lantana covered about one half of the bed. The rocks around the bed kept the Lantana within the bounds of the bed for the most part. When the Winter Storm of 2021 arrived I had not covered the Lantana, so I feared it was dead.

Lantana Perennial Plants are Alive!

Snow and ice remained on the bed for well over a week. When the snow finally melted it appeared the Lantana was dead. I trimmed the dead branches and added some compost and mulch to the bed. For the remainder of 2021 I watered as needed weekly. In March part of the Lantana began to leaf and by April 10 seemed to be leafing out well. By December of 2021 the Lantana covered three fourths of the bed. In December 2021 the Lantana was thriving during the warm, mild 4th quarter of 2021.

Snow and ice covering the perennial plants bed

Somewhere under there is “New Gold’ lantana.

Lantana starting to grow new leaves

New leaves started growing in April

Lantana growing in a perennial plant bed

Fully recovered by December

More to Learn about Perennial Plants

The case study process was very helpful to me as a Master Gardener. I noted in my July quarterly report that the Lantana plant grew vigorously during the heat of the summer. However, the blooms declined as leaves on nearby oak and crepe myrtle trees restricted full sunlight in the afternoon. So my next question is will I remain content to have fewer blooms on my Lantana? Or should I transplant it to another full-sun location in my yard? Learning is the best part of gardening!

Additional Resources

Linda is participating in the Travis County Master Gardener Winter Storm Project.

Weather Strategies for Austin Gardens

Frosts and Freezes

Native and Adapted Landscape Plants searchable database

Climate Graph for Austin Bergstrom

About Linda Burch

Photo of LInda
Linda Burch has been a Travis County Master Gardener since 2014. She was also a Master Gardener in Virginia – but learned that those gardening skills didn’t always transfer to Texas Gardening. She loves to garden with perennials, herbs, and vegetables and has expertise in soils and composting.

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