Pentas: Easy to Grow Perennials with Pretty Star Flowers
Image by Jongjoon Moon from Pixabay
These easy to grow plants not only add beauty to the garden in summers but also attracts butterflies towards them. In countries where we find humming birds it attracts them as well. These plants have bright colorful flowers and can survive with very little to no care. Pentas care in India is very easy can be easily grown in Indian climate. They are also resistant to heat. They are easy to maintain and can be a great addition to summer garden.
Quick Details of Pentas
|Other Common Names||Egyptian Star Cluster, Egyptian Star Flower, Star Flower|
|Type||Outdoor flowering perennial plant|
|Light||Bright direct sunlight at least 3-5 hours a day|
|Temperature||Warm humid conditions|
|Soil||Well draining slightly acidic soil.|
|Fertilizer||Well balanced fertilizer ones a month|
|Common Diseases||Not prone to many diseases|
|Scientific name||Pentas lanceolata|
Pentas Buying Instructions
- As the plant does not have much life, buy a bushy plant for maximum flowering.
- Buy couple of plants to add beauty to your balcony or garden.
- If you are new to gardening buy the plant which is there in the pot and do not re-pot the it to avoid damage to the plant.
Overview of Pentas
The pentas are perennial flowering shrubs native to Africa and belong to the family of Rubiaceae. These are sub-tropical plants are grown for their beautiful star shaped tubular flowers. These plants can grow to a height of 1.8 m tall and can spread up to 3 feet wide. The leaves are dark green, with irregular margins and are oval in shape. The flowers are 5 petaled and looks like a star and hence the name pentas and star flowers. They are present in clusters and seen to bloom during summer in red, white, pink and lavender colors. The flowers have nectar and a pleasant smell that attracts butterflies, hummingbirds and bees.
Usage and Advantage of Pentas
- Grown as an ornamental plant.
General Care for Pentas
Plant them in a well draining, nutrient rich, slightly acidic soil.
They prefer a moist soil therefore, water the plants regularly. Do not over water the plants as excess moisture can cause rot and attract pests. Avoid overhead watering.
The plants require bright direct sunlight or filtered light for their growth. The plants can grow in shade but they become tall and leggy. The flowering is also reduced.
They prefer a warm, humid conditions. They are tropical plants and love to be in heat with preferably high humidity. They cannot survive extreme winters. Shift the plants indoor during winters.
The tips of the plants can be pruned or pinched to promote bushier growth. Add organic mulch to the soil to prevent loss of moisture and to balance the organic content. Deadheading promotes flowering. Remove the dead and infected stems, leaves and flower heads before the growing season.
They do not require much feeding. Add a well a balanced slow release fertilizer ones a month during the growing season. To boost flowering feed them with fertilizer rich in phosphorus.
Pests and other problems for Pentas
When grown in right conditions they are not prone to any diseases or pest. However, excess moisture can lead to diseases like root rot. The plants should be discarded in case of root rot. They are also attacked by pests like aphids, whiteflies and mites when in stress. Use a mild insecticide or neem oil to get rid of them.
Propagation of Pentas
These plants can be propagated through seeds and cutting.
Best time sow the seeds in India is in the month of March and April. Sow the seeds 1/4 inch deep and cover it with soil. Water them regularly t maintain moisture. The seeds germinate within 3-6 weeks.
The cuttings can be taken from a healthy growing tip. Cut 4-6 inches of the tip, remove the leaves from the base. Leave at least 2-3 leaves on the tip. The tip of the cutting can be dip into a rooting hormone this initiates root growth. Plant them in a moist starter mix and place them in shade. Water the cuttings regularly.