My lantana has stopped blooming and the leaves are getting dead patches and dying. What’s happening?
Your lantana is being infested by spider mites and I have had the same problem with plants in my own garden at home. Spider mites thrive in dry conditions and, other than the brief shot of rain we received in late June, we have had a very dry spring and summer season. They live on the underside of leaves and suck the juices out of them – flip the leaves over and you should see tiny black or red spots, with thin little webs, on their surface.
Spider mites are tough but can be eliminated. Start by lightly cutting back your plants, bagging and disposing of the debris so you don’t spread the problem around your garden. Since these little critters hate moist conditions, hose down your plants every day or so for a few weeks, paying close attention to getting the undersides wet.
You can also spray plants with organic insecticidal soap, making sure that the undersides of the leaves are thoroughly soaked. Horticultural oils are effective but their use is only recommended when temperatures are below 90 degrees, so that is not an option right now. There are also nonorganic chemical treatments available, but I will leave that for you to explore if you choose to go that route.
After a few weeks of diligent treatments with the options listed above, you should start to see new, clean growth forming again. If you don’t, stick to your treatment regimen until you do. Let’s hope that we soon start getting regular rains to make conditions less desirable for these nasty little pests.
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