what eats lantana

What Eats Lantana Plants? (11 Culprits and Quick Fixes!)

Caterpillars of Butterflies, Leafminers, and Moths feed on Lantana foliage. Insects like Aphids, Lace bugs, Mealybugs, Spider Mites, and Whiteflies eat Lantana. Hummingbirds are attracted to the juicy blossoms of Lantana. Most critters tend to keep away from Lantana thanks to the toxicity in the berries.

Lantana is an evergreen shrub that grows in zones 8-11. The plant eventually becomes a ground cover if the conditions are suitable.

Butterflies are attracted by the brightly-colored, nectar-filled blossoms of Lantana. This is probably why these plants are grown.

Such beauty comes with problems. The plant is often attacked by certain insect/animal pests. They love to devour Lantana plants.

In this article, you’ll learn what pests attack Lantana. You’ll also learn the ways of getting rid of those pesky pests.

Do Caterpillars eat Lantana?

Yes, a variety of caterpillars eat Lantana. Caterpillars of Butterflies, Moths, and Leaf Miners feed on Lantana leaves.

In fact, caterpillars can be considered the arch-nemesis of Lantana. Caterpillars damage Lantana plants by eating holes into the leaves.

The green caterpillars have the perfect camouflage to blend in with the foliage. This is why it’s hard to notice them until the damage is visible.

If you don’t deter these pests, they might defoliate the entire plant. Foliage miners tunnel through the leaves, leaving the leaves distorted and yellow-colored.

How do I get rid of Caterpillars on my Lantana?

There are many ways to get rid of Caterpillars on Lantana. If possible don’t use chemical means to eliminate these pests.

Natural Control

  • Wear garden gloves and pick them off one by one. Throw these pests into a bucket of soapy water.
  • You need to do this weekly to prevent large infestations.
  • You can apply Bacillus thuringiensis to the affected plants. The bacteria only affects the caterpillars, leaving the other insects unharmed.
  • Birds and Lizards eat caterpillars passionately. You can attract birds to your garden by setting up bird feeders. This is a great way of controlling caterpillars biologically.

Chemical control

  • We don’t usually recommend chemical means to control caterpillars. Using chemicals adversely affects your garden ecosystem.
  • Use mild chemicals like Neem oil or Insecticidal soap to control caterpillars.
  • Only apply chemicals when the temperature is below 85F.

Do Monarch Caterpillars eat Lantana?

No, Monarch Caterpillars don’t eat Lantana. Monarch Caterpillars only feed on the plants belonging to the Milkweed family.

A variety of Butterfly larvae and Foliage Miner larvae feed on Lantana leaves.

What is eating my Lantana flowers?

Lace bugs eat Lantana flowers. Lantana leaves attacked by Lace bugs have yellow/brown spots on them.

Lace bug populations rise as the temperature rises. Lace bugs proliferate once the temperature reaches 90F.

The adult insects lay eggs on the undersides of the leaves, along the midrib. Adult Lace bugs feed on buds too.

The affected Lantana’s leaves turn yellow-brown and become mottled. Such leaves shrivel up and die eventually.

How to control Lace bugs on Lantana?

  • Each type of lace bug is specific to a species of plant. So, you can avoid lace bug infestation by filling the garden with a variety of plants.
  • Spray Neem oil fortnightly on the plant that’s infested with Lace bugs.
  • Add compost to the soil. Add a layer of organic mulch around Lantanas. This helps preserve moisture in the soil and keep Lace bugs away.
  • You can introduce Lacewing larvae, assassin bugs, lady beetles, pirate bugs, and predaceous mites to control Lace bugs biologically.

What insect is eating my Lantana?

Insects like Aphids, Whiteflies, Mealybugs, and Lace bugs eat Lantana leaves. They eat holes into the leaves and turn them yellow.

Do Aphids eat Lantana?

Yes, several species of Aphids feed on Lantana. Aphids are a common sight in the garden, so they’re easy to recognize.

Aphids reproduce quickly, so they grow in large numbers over weeks. They hide in the buds and the undersides of the leaves.

They suck plant sap through the leaves and leave behind Honeydew. Honeydew attracts a variety of fungi and grows into the sooty mold.

Sooty mold hinders the plant’s ability to assimilate food. Heavily infested plant’s leaves distort and curl inward.

How to get rid of Aphids on Lantana?

  • Cut off the leaves that have seen aphid damage. Place these leaves in a bag and throw this bag away from the garden.
  • You can spray water on the affected branches of Lantana to dislodge aphids.
  • Spray Horticultural oil on the affected Lantana to get rid of aphids.

Do Whiteflies eat Lantana?

Yes, Whiteflies eat Lantana. The insects leave yellow spots on the foliage as they feed. Severe infestations cause defoliation.

Both the immature and the adult forms of Whiteflies feed on Lantana. Whiteflies secrete Honeydew like some other sap-sucking insects.

How to get rid of Whiteflies on Lantana?

  • Hang yellow, sticky cards around Lantana to get rid of Whiteflies before they grow in numbers.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap to a gallon of water and make a solution. Spray this on the affected parts of Lantana to eliminate Whiteflies.
  • One can also spray Insecticidal soap/Horticulture oil on Lantana to get rid of Whiteflies without much damage to the ecosystem.

Do Mealybugs eat Lantana?

Yes, Mealybugs eat Lantana. Mealybugs appear as a cottony mass on the leaves and stems of Lantana. They feed on plant sap and act as a vector for various disease-causing organisms.

Mealybugs are related to scale insects. Basically, they are scale insects without hard shells. They are only active in warm conditions.

The leaves infested by Mealybugs turn yellow and drop off prematurely. The honeydew excretions promote the growth of sooty mold.

How to get rid of Mealybugs on Lantana?

  • One can dislodge Mealybugs from Lantana by spraying the affected branches with a steady stream of water.
  • Soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and wipe off the insects.
  • One can also spray Insecticidal soap/Neem oil on the affected Lantana to get rid of Mealybugs.
  • You can introduce Lacewings, parasitic wasps, or Mealybug destroyers to control Mealybugs biologically.

Do Spider Mites eat Lantana?

Yes, Spider Mites eat Lantana. Spider Mites are eight-legged insects that feed on plant-sap and hide under the leaves.

The silky web around the leaves and buds is the first sign of Spider Mites’ presence. They are able to produce web just like spiders.

Affected Lantana’s leaves turn yellow, stippled, and fall off. They are mostly active in hot, dry conditions.

How do you get rid of Spider Mites on Lantana?

  • One can get rid of Spider Mites by spraying Insecticidal soap/Horticulture oil.
  • Soak cotton balls in rubbing alcohol and wipe off the mites.
  • Wash the leaf undersides with a steady stream of lukewarm water to control Spider Mite populations. Do this twice a week regularly in the hot, dry season.

Do Japanese Beetles eat Lantana?

No, Japanese Beetles don’t eat Lantana. Japanese Beetles don’t like to touch the sandpapery leaves of Lantana.

We can say Lantana is resistant to Japanese Beetles. So, if you see any damage to Lantana foliage, it’s probably the other insect pests we’ve discussed above.

What animals eat Lantana?

Most animals don’t eat Lantana thanks to their toxic fruits. Lantana deters most critters due to its sandpapery leaves. Hummingbirds are attracted to Lantana blossoms.

Do Rabbits like to eat Lantana?

No, rabbits don’t eat Lantana. The strong smell of Lantana helps keep rabbits away from the garden.

Rabbits can’t digest the toxic fruits of Lantana, this is probably why they keep their distance from Lantana. Rabbits become sick if they eat Lantana.

Will Deer eat Lantana?

No, deer do not eat Lantana. They avoid eating Lantana as the plant is highly toxic. Lantana acts as a deer-deterrent.

The strong smell of Lantanas keeps deer away.

Do Birds eat Lantana flowers?

Yes, a variety of birds eat Lantana flowers. Plant Lantana in your garden to attract Hummingbirds. These birds act as the seed dispensers of Lantana.

Hummingbirds are attracted to juicy flowers of Lantana. Some other birds are attracted by Lantana berries.

Do Squirrels eat Lantana?

No, Squirrels don’t eat Lantana. In fact, many gardeners use Lantana to deter squirrels from their garden.

It is probably due to the strong smell of Lantana.

Do Gophers eat Lantana?

No, Gophers don’t eat Lantana. The critters tend not to go near Lantana, probably due to the toxicity of the fruits.

Even the leaves of Lantana are sandpapery, which probably keeps many critters away.

Do Slugs and Snails eat Lantana?

No, slugs and snails don’t eat Lantana. Lantana is a slug-resistant plant. They might be seen around them but they don’t eat the plant parts.

This is probably because of the toxic fruits or the sandpapery leaves of Lantana.


Caterpillars are the main enemies of Lantana. Lace bugs, Aphids, Spider Mites, Whiteflies, and Mealybugs also eat Lantana.

So, as soon as you see some damage on your Lantana, look for the culprit among these and act accordingly.

The plant is pretty hardy as you already know. Lantana produces beautiful blossoms and deters most critters in the garden, what more can one want?

Happy Gardening 🙂