Common Names: pentas, star flower, star cluster
Family: Rubiaceae (madder Family)Description
Dark green, lance-shaped, somewhat furry and deeply veined leaves
provide a lush backdrop for prolific clusters of never-ending, five-petaled
flowers. These may be red, white, lavender, purple, or shades of
pink. Some are two-toned. All are extremely attractive to
butterflies, and the red and dark pink varieties delight
hummingbirds. Depending on the variety, the habit of growth may be
upright to about 3', or low and mounding. Full sized pentas are
often sprawling, as tall stems will topple over. The flowers are
held in terminal clusters and self-deadhead. In warm weather the
plant grows fast and stays in bloom constantly. Where winters are
not too severe, pentas are perennial. They may always be treated as
an annual and replanted after danger of frost for long-lasting
Africa seems to be the original home of pentas.
Likes well worked, moderately fertile soil that retains moisture
Light: Sun to shade. Blooms better and is more robust in good sun,
but will still bloom in shade and look good!
Moisture: Moist to average.
Hardiness: USDA zones 8-11. May be grown as a greenhouse plant or
used as an annual in warm weather.
Propagation:Cuttings in spring and summer.
Splendid in butterfly beds with buddleias, ixora, and lantana. Also
a wonderful annual when planted in drifts of uniform color. Pentas
is probably underused in landscape flowerbeds. It makes an ideal
container plant throughout the summer, and mixes well with any
number of warm weather annuals. Red pentas and blue Salvia
guaranitica are a good combination and can guarantee visits by
hummingbirds, which seem to be drawn magnetically to these flowers!
Prolific flower clusters; lush, dark green foliage.