I had never heard of pentas until I came to North Carolina a few years ago and now I hear about them, read about them and see them everywhere. They are praised for their heat and humidity tolerance and extolled for their tight heads of both dark and pastel colors. Their range of colors make them easy to use with other plants and their fine textured flower heads provide a nice contrast to coarser plants. They do well in containers as well as borders and attract butterflies and hummingbirds. No wonder they are in the top 20 list of annuals in the Carolinas. Like many other bedding plants that pump out flowers until frost, they need to be fertilized regularly.

Type: Tender perennial usually grown as an annual.

Bloom: Small pink, white, lavender and red star-shaped flowers are borne in 2-3” wide clusters from summer to frost.

Size: dwarf 10’ H x 8” W; standard 20” H x 15” W.

Light: Full sun to partial shade but do best with sun.

Soil: Moderately fertile, moist but well drained.

Fertilizer: Use controlled released fertilizer at the beginning of and mid-way through the growing season or apply water soluble fertilizer every two weeks. Water deeply once a week during dry spells.

Care: Deadhead to maintain vigorous bloom.

Pests and Diseases: None of significance but susceptible to leafhopper.

Hardiness: Zones 8-10.

Propagation: Cuttings in spring and summer.

Companion plants: Especially nice with blue flowers such as Salvia spp.; nicotiana, petunias,

Outstanding Selections:
‘New Look’ series (small plants in a range of colors).

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By Karen