Pentas Plant: How To Care For Pentas Flower

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The Pentas plant is a proven winner in the garden. Pentas give homeowners a blast of color. Their flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

Pentas lanceolata, more commonly known as Pentas. It is also referred to as the “Egyptian Star Flower” due to its unique star-shaped flowers. This shrub grows anywhere from 18″ to 36″ inches tall and reaches 4′ feet tall at maturity.

half barrel at Disney World planted with colorful flowering Pentas plantsPin
Pentas are magnets for butterflies and hummingbirds | image via

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 climates and zones.

Pentas Flowers Put On A Summer Long Show

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

Starcluster White pentas performs in just about every type of summer weather, showing off its white clusters of flowers. Plus, if you have a sunny spot indoors, you can grow it as a charming indoor plant. 

The Pentas shine even in the hottest of summers. They bloom bright, beautiful flowers, making them attractive hummingbird plants. They are perfect plants for the butterfly garden, drawing them in by the dozens!

Pentas Quick Care Tips

  • Botanical Name: Pentas lanceolata
    Common Name(s): Egyptian Star Cluster, Star Flower
    Synonyms: Pentas carnea, Pentas lanceolata var. carnea
    Family & Origin: Rubiaceae family, native to Africa
    Growability: Easy to grow
    Grow Zone: 10-11
    Size: Grows up to 4′ feet tall
    Flowering: Blooms in clusters of star-shaped flowers in shades of pink, red, white, and lavender
    Light: Full sun to partial shade
    Humidity: Tolerates low humidity
    Temperature: Prefers warm temperatures between 60-85°F
    Soil: Well-draining soil with a pH of 6.0-7.5
    Water: Keep soil consistently moist but not waterlogged
    Fertilizer: Use a balanced fertilizer every 2-3 weeks during the growing season
    Pests & Diseases: Susceptible to spider mites, whiteflies, and powdery mildew
    Propagation: Propagated through stem cuttings or by division
    Plant Uses: Great for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds, can be used in borders, containers, or as a bedding plant.

Related: More on “other” Butterfly Bushes – Buddleia

Pentas Plant Care

Low maintenance requirements, dark green foliage, and bright-colored flowers make Pentas a welcome garden addition.

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

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

Pentas will grow in partial shade, but an area that gets full sun or at least 6 hours of bright sunlight every day is best.  Set them in a sunny window in a warm room. 

When planting multiples, space plants 18″ to 24″ inches between each plant.

Besides sunlight, Pentas care requires plenty of water.

Vibrant red pentas flowers with lush green leaves.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @callowaysnursery

When the soil begins 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. Plants may need more water during the hotter summer months. Pentas are considered moderately drought-tolerant. [source]

When spring planting, perennial and annual Pentas flowers include a granular slow-release fertilizer.

Fertilize perennial and annual Pentas monthly using balanced, water-soluble plant food.

When planting this easy-care flower in spring, include a granular slow-release fertilizer.

The timed-release food will provide the necessary nutrients for the plant to grow and thrive. Follow up with monthly liquid feedings. Use 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. Most salvias don’t like cool weather, so plant them outdoors after all danger of frost has passed.

To encourage full bushy growth, pinch the stems. Trim damaged and dead stems during late winter before spring arrives. 

Deadhead or snip dead or overgrown stems during the growing season. Selective pruning will keep your plants looking healthy and bright!

"Pink pentas flowers in bloom"Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @melissakinginthegarden

How To Propagate The Pentas Flower From Cuttings?

Pentas propagate easily from cuttings or seeds. Homeowners will find growing from cutting the 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 the direct sun and the wind.
  • Cutting should begin to root in a few weeks.

Grow Pentas flowers happily in the ground or as plants in container gardens.  

Select dwarf varieties and pair them with other low-growing annual flowers such as dwarf marigolds, creeping zinnias, and geraniums. 

They can survive a light frost but cannot survive a hard freeze. 

Vibrant pink pentas flowers in bloom.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @vicki_kimber

Pentas Plant Problems Pests and Disease Problems

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.

During hot summers, spider mites can become an issue.

Vibrant pink pentas flowers blossoming.Pin

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 recent popular pentas introductions:

  • Pentas Graffiti Red Lace
  • Pentas Graffiti Lipstick
  • Pentas Northern Lights
  • Pentas Kaleidoscope Appleblossom

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