Pentas is a lush perennial that can grow as a shrub in tropical regions. Stems are topped by tight 4-inch (10cm) wide clusters of small, star-shaped flowers in white, pink, lilac, or red.
In warm-winter regions, pentas provide color nearly year-round. Pentas are commonly grown as summer annuals in cold-winter regions. They are native to Africa.
Get to Know Pentas
- Plant type: Tropical perennial or shrub grown as an annual or houseplant
- Growing zones and range: 10-11
- Hardiness: Tender
- Height and width: 6-18 inches (15-45cm) as an annual; 24 to 36 inches (61-91cm) in a pot; in tropical regions grows as a shrub from 6 to 8 feet (1.8-2.4m) tall
- Foliage: Long, pointed, dark green, fuzzy leaves
- Flowers: Large, tight, round clusters of star-shaped flower in brilliant shades of pink, salmon, red, and white
- Uses: Bedding plant, container plant, or specimen shrub depending on growing zone. Can be grown as a houseplant in cold winter regions.
- Bloom time: Summer
- Botanical name: Pentas lanceolata
- Common name: Pentas, star cluster flowers, Egyptian star cluster flower
Where to Plant Pentas
- Plant pentas in full sun where the sun is not intense; plant in part shade in very hot summer regions.
- Grow in bright light indoors.
- Grow pentas in humus-rich, well-drained soil.
When to Plant Pentas
- In cold or cool winter regions, set pentas in the garden in late spring about 3 weeks after the last frost.
- In tropical regions, container-grown pentas can be planted out at any time of the year.
Planting and Spacing Pentas
- Space pentas growing as annuals 6 to 18 inches (15-45cm) apart.
How to Water and Feed Pentas
- Keep the soil evenly moist; do not let the soil dry out.
- Fertilize pentas every 4 to 6 weeks with an all-purpose fertilizer or work a slow-release fertilizer into the soil at planting time.
- Mulch around pentas to conserve soil moisture.
- Trim spent flowers to encourage further flowering.
- In fall, a few weeks before the first frost bring pentas indoors to grow in a sunny spot as a houseplant.
- Where pentas grow as perennials, prune the plant heavily each year before spring growth begins to keep the plant compact.
Pentas Varieties to Grow
- ‘New Look’ is a dwarf cultivar that grows 6 to 12 inches (15-30cm) tall.