Q: I have lantanas that need to be pruned back. I heard you say do this in December, then I heard a radio caller say wait until April. If I prune them now and cover them with pine straw will I be okay? How short should I cut them back?
A: There are two trains of thought on this. Some say that if you prune them before springtime then water will drip down into the hollow stems and rot the crown. A second faction says that many fine perennials have hollow stems and are perfectly hardy when cut back in winter.
I align myself with the second group, mostly because lantana is such an ugly plant when left unpruned all winter. I think that it can be cut back to a height of twelve inches in January each year. Cover the stems that are left with three inches of pine straw. It is my feeling that winter temperatures have much more to do with lantana’s survival than at what time it is pruned back.