On Gardening: Luscious Royale Cosmo is a lantana with universal appeal


Choosing to name a variety of lantana “Cosmo” may seem quite strange. While there are numerous definitions of the word cosmo, it largely means a peaceful and harmonious system and/or universe. So let’s apply that definition to the award-winning Luscious Royale Cosmo lantana.

If you asked me if you could use this lantana in a monochromatic color scheme with the magenta ColorBlaze Royale Cherry Brandy coleus, I would say yes — and I have the photo to prove it. If the friend next to you asked if they could use it in a monochromatic color scheme with the orange Superbells Dreamsicle calibrachoa and coral-colored salvias I would also say yes, I’ve got the photos to prove it. But if you are not looking for monochromatic, don’t worry. It is the ultimate complementary color scheme plant for the Rockin Blue Suede Shoes salvia, or whatever your favorite blue flower happens to be.

Another reason the name “Cosmo” and its definition is most appropriate is the Luscious Royale Cosmo lantana has been winning awards like Perfect Score All Season, which is a real challenge for plants no matter where the trials are located. Not only did it win this award at Oklahoma State, but also Oregon State and the Leader of the Pack All Season at North Carolina State. You can add a dozen and a half more Top Performer Awards in other states from east to west and north to south. Indeed, it is starting to sound like a peaceful and harmonious plant for our home universe.

Someone else might ask if it brings in butterflies. Yes, I have the photos. Does it bring in hummingbirds? Yes, I have the photos — and I will add bees, too. (I have been growing it for three years and haven’t seen the first fruit, hence, no seeds.)

Proven Winners touts it as a possible perennial in zones 9 and warmer and a most worthy annual elsewhere. Mine have returned in my zone 8a landscape in West Georgia, and I will be quick to add our winters have been mild since I planted it. I’ll update you next year.

The Proven Winners tag says Luscious Royale Cosmo’s bloom color is magenta-purple with yellow-orange highlights. If it is like other lantanas, the individual florets change colors throughout the day. The color at 9 a.m. will be decidedly different at 4 p.m. This is a most enjoyable process, and I hope you take time to revel in it.

Luscious Royale Cosmos lantana thrives in full, blazing sun. My son James gets riotous colors in commercial settings like the shopping centers and business complexes. They are somewhat softer in color at my home, where I am sun-challenged. The floral display has still been excellent, providing a feast of color for the eyes and nectar for the pollinators.

Fertile, well-drained soil gives the best performance and certainly improves chances for a spring return where possible. It is projected to reach 2 feet tall and wide, which is just perfect in the home landscape. In the South, you could push 3 feet, which is still super. The name “Cosmo” is definitely most appropriate, and I predict you too will fall in love with it. Put it high on your must-have list.

(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 @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.)

(NOTE TO EDITORS: Norman Winter receives complimentary plants to review from the companies he covers.)

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