The pentas plants are annual or perennial mountain flowers tailor-made for butterflies. Pentas has nectar-rich flowers that grow in clusters over several seasons in vibrant pink, red and purple irresistible to butterflies. The plant is with clusters of many shallow blooms that provide easy access for the butterfly proboscis, allowing the butterflies to dip into many flowers in a short period. Honeybees like pentas, so you can add some into your pollinator gardens for increased activity.  

This plant actually belongs to the Rubiaceae family, which includes other prized ornamentals like coffee and gardenias. The pentas plants are most times described at the garden center by its common names’ Egyptian starflower, starflower, or a star cluster. The plant can be grown anywhere as an annual.


The botanical name: The botanical name is Pentas lanceolata

The common name: The common name is Egyptian Star Cluster

The Plant Type: Annual

The mature size: eighteen to twenty-four inches

The sun exposure: The plant prefers full sun to partial shade

The soil type: Pentas does well in fertile soil with a good drainage.


The soil pH: Mildly acidic

The blooming time: Heat of summer

The flower color: The flower colors are pink, red, lavender, or white

Plant Hardiness Zones: USDA 6–11

The Native Area: This plant is native to Africa



How To Grow Pentas


The plant is grown wild in East Africa. Pentas plants are ideal for summer borders and containers: The average height of pentas is about eighteen to twenty-four inches. If they are planted as perennials in frost-free zones they can reach about 4 feet tall or higher. The dark green foliage is slightly fuzzy. The 5 petaled blossoms grow in 3 inch clusters similar to other butterfly favorites like lantana, sedum and Queen Anne’s lace. Blossom colors include purple, pink, red and white. The plants can actually stay in bloom continuously under ideal growing conditions, so it’s worth weekly care to actually keep the plants in optimum health.

Furthermore, a lot gardeners choose pentas transplants to start in the garden, but you can try planting the fresh pentas seed saved from the last year’s flowers. Pentas seeds also require light to germinate, so make sure you doesn’t cover them with soil.


Light requirement: Any plants that receive at least 3 hours of direct sun will produce the best flowers. Any plants that do not receive enough sunlight will stretch and become leggy. Pentus plants prefer full sun, however some afternoon shade is tolerated.


Soil requirement: The plant appreciates a mildly acidic soil pH in the range of 6.0. You can plant directly into watters organic potting soil, also amending the soil with watters premium mulch will increase the acidity of the soil for brighter flowers.


Water requirement: The plant needs regular irrigation to stay healthy. Make sure you keep the soil moist. Make sure you avoid regular overhead watering to prevent unsightly brown spots on the foliage.


Temperature and humidity: With the plant tropical origin, Pentus clusters love heat and humidity and they also thrive in warm climates.


Fertilizer requirement: You can fertilize the pentas twice per month with Watters Flower Power when in bloom.


Potting and repotting: Pentas plants really thrive in containers or pots. The plant can be easily grown indoors in rooms with bright indoor light. You can bring the plants indoors before the first frost, or take the cuttings from your desired varieties. A cool place that has bright light is an ideal spot to overwinter plants. Keep the indoor pentas plants vigorous by adding a supplementary light source, and also by increasing the humidity with a gravel-and-water filled tray.


Pruning: In frost-free growing zones, the plants will really exhibit their shrubby nature. You can prune the plants to 6 inches in January when the bloom production is at its lowest. After several seasons the stems of the pentas plant will become so woody it’s worth replacing them. When growing pentas as an annual for one season, no pruning is actually necessary, on the other hand regular deadheading will keep the pentas plants blooming productively.


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