I have mentioned the “dead plant” section at Lowes several times but it is time that I elaborate on this. At my local Lowes there is a section at the very back of the Garden Center to the left which contains plants that the local nurseries have determined to be lost hopes. These for the most part are perennials that have already bloomed and are therefore no longer attractive, or annuals that are looking a bit tired and therefore unsellable. For the most part they are discounted to 50 cents or less.
This is an absolute gold mine for the dedicated gardener, especially when it comes to the perennials that have already bloomed. Sure they have done their stuff for the year, but that doesn’t mean they are done for their life. It is also a gold mine for things that are sold as annuals but actually perennialize in your area. Here in my area Dianthus is a reliable perennial, five out of ten plants come back year after year, even in baskets and containers. So true with Lantanta, particularly the Ms. Huff (I cannot describe it better than it being a confetti looking flower with pink, yellow, red, and orange petals all on the same flower). I bought a Ms. Huff lantana about ten years ago, it was a four inch pot, and it cost me 25 cents. I stuck it in the ground in the circular bed by the side of my patio and it has just exploded into the most magnificent plant I have ever known.
Every year it comes back larger and larger, to the extent that it is now six feet tall and at least six feet wide. I have to admit that this year, due to our extreme ice storms I thought I had lost it, but sure enough, when I checked the base of the dead stalks there were the shoots, coming up from the frozen earth. She is again going to be magnificent, feeding every butterfly and humming bird within miles. All for 25 cents and a tiny bit of work.
I cannot express to you how much I recommend the dead plant section at Lowes.