Pentas Plant: How To Care For Pentas Flower

The Pentas plant is a proven winner, giving homeowners a blast of color and great flowers to attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

Pentas lanceolata, more commonly known as Pentas, and also casually referred to as the “Egyptian Star Flower” due to the flower’s unique shape. This shrub grows anywhere from 18″ to 36″ inches tall and reaches 4′ feet tall at maturity.

The Pentas plant grows as both a perennial and annual. As perennials, they grow hardy in US Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones 10 and 11. Plant Pentas to grow as annuals in cooler climate’s and zones.

pentas plant care

Pentas Flowers A Summer Long Show

Pentas plants develop small, pink star flowers in bright, bold hues for summer long blooms. Penta flower colors range from white, red or pink, but new cultivars add lavender or purple hues, with flowers displaying pink hues with red hints in the center.

The Pentas shines even in the hottest of summers, blooming bright, beautiful flowers making them an attractive hummingbird plant and perfect plants for the butterfly garden to draw them in by the dozens!

Related: More on “other” Butterfly Bushes – Buddleia

Pentas Plant Care

The dark green foliage and bright colored flowers make red Pentas a welcome addition to gardens due to their relatively low maintenance requirements.

For the best results, start planting during late spring using a well-drained, moist soil and plenty of sunlight for good measure.

Pentas plants prefer a well-drained soil that doesn’t stay soggy after heavy rainfall or irrigation.

Pentas will grow in partial shade but for best results choose an area that gets full sun or at least 6 hours of bright sunlight every day. When planting multiples, space plants 18″ to 24″ inches between each plant.

In addition to sunlight, Pentas care requires plenty of water. When you see soil begin to dry out, it’s time to water. Put in an inch or two of water for every 2″ to 4″ inches of dry topsoil. Repeat the watering cycle when the soil begins to dry out. Keep an eye on the watering schedule, especially in the hotter summer months, when plants may require more water. Pentas are considered to be moderately drought tolerant. [source]

Fertilize perennial and annual Pentas on a monthly basis using a balanced water-soluble plant food.

When planting this easy care flower in spring include a slow-release fertilizer to provide the necessary nutrients for the plant to grow and thrive. Follow up with monthly liquid feedings, using the recommended application rates listed on the label.

Also in the springtime add a 2″ inches tall layer of mulch to conserve precious water and prevent weeds. Mulch perennial Pentas before winter to help insulate them against the winter cold.

To encourage full bushy growth gently pinch the stems. Trim damaged and dead stems during late winter before spring arrives. Deadhead or snip dead or overgrown stems as soon as you see them during the growing season to keep your plants looking healthy and bright!

potted pink pentas Legoland Sept 2017
Potted pink Pentas flower at Legoland, Winter Haven, Florida September 2017

How To Propagate The Pentas Flower From Cuttings

Pentas propagate easily from cuttings or seeds. However, for homeowners growing from cutting is easiest.

  • Before taking cuttings prepare small pots with a moistened starter medium. I like to use a 50/50 mix of peat moss and perlite.
  • Take cuttings from the terminal wood early in the morning. Trim off the bottom two leaves and dip the end in a rooting hormone solution.
  • Make a hole in the starter pots, stick the cutting in and firm the soil around the cutting.
  • Place the cuttings in a shaded location out of direct sun and the wind.
  • Cutting should begin to root in a few weeks.

Grow Pentas flowers happily in the ground or as container plants. They can survive a light frost, but cannot survive a hard freeze.

Potted Red and Pink flowers of the Pentas plants
Red and Pink Pentas flowers

Pentas Plant Problems Pests and Disease

Pentas experience few pest problems. Control light infestations of aphids by spraying plants with a quick spritz from a pressurized hose.

Control fungus gnats and whiteflies with an insecticidal soap spray or organic all-natural Neem oil insecticide.

A fungicide spray containing copper will help control Botrytis, mildew and leaf spots. Limit the spread of the plant disease by removing the affected leaves.

I prefer to keep Penta plants in shape with regular pruning using my trusty Felco’s. This keeps the plants bushy and full with the reward of bright flowers for greeting visitors.

Popular Pentas Varieties:

New varieties of pentas enter the market each year. Below are several current popular pentas introductions:

  • Pentas Graffiti Red Lace
  • Pentas Northern Lights