Growing Pentas (Star Cluster)

Latin Name Pronunciation: pen-tass'

Native to tropical eastern Africa, Pentas flourishes in heat and low humidity, can be grown as a perennial where temperatures remain above 30 degrees F. Elsewhere it is a choice annual used to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.Pentas lanceolata produces 4in, dome-shaped flower heads packed with starry blossoms. The multi-stemmed, spreading plants flower all summer long, but deadheading will encourage rebloom.

Light/Watering: Flowers more abundantly in full sun but will tolerate some shade. Water when the top 1in of soil is dry to the touch.

Fertilizer/Soil and pH: Plant in average, well-drained soil with a pH that's just a bit acid (between 6.5 and 6.8). Feed every two weeks with an all-purpose or bloom-boosting fertilizer mixed according to the manufacturer's recommendation.

Pests/Diseases: If spider mites or aphids become a problem, apply a soap spray to both sides of the leaves.

Companions: Plant in borders, beds, and containers with other sun-loving annuals, such as Salvia, Lantana, and Petunia.

For information on planting and care of annuals, click How to grow annuals.

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