Better Than Lantana

Lagascea_decipiens_2c (1).JPG

Doll's Head
Lagascea decipiens

  • moderate water (terrace zone)

  • grows to about 5 feet tall but can be pruned down 

  • full sun to part shade

  • can take lows into the low 20°F

  • Yellow flowers in warm weather

  • nectar plant for butterflies, moths, and bees

They always tell you, plant lantana if you want butterflies. We admit, we planted a few in our yard. But the more we look, the more we find exceptional plants that beat the pants off of the more common landscape plants in Tucson. 

Nobody seems to be that aware of this plant, except a few plant nerds. But doll's head is a cool native plant that can take our tough summers and keep your butterflies happy. You can find it growing in Arizona only in a few spots like at Kitt Peak. It is much more common in Sonora and southward. 

Doll's head blooms most of the warm season. And unless it experiences drought or fairly cold weather, it will stay evergreen. Plants grow to around 5 feet tall but can be kept pruned down to smaller dimensions. However, you may not want to prune it too much, since this delays flowering. This plant takes less water than a lantana, and can take full sun or shade (plants bloom more in full sun). Plants can be damaged below 22 °F, but come back fairly quickly. 

If you want those painted ladies, skippers, checkered whites, and funereal duskywings, this plant will make that happen. 

Katherine Gierlach