Treating Penta Plants Diseases
One of my favorite garden plants is Pentas, I have worked with these beauties on many landscape projects. Pentas is a genus of flowering plants that belong to the family Rubiaceae, this herbaceous perennial can be also grown as annuals and is native to Yemen East Africa thriving well in tropical regions such as the Arabian peninsula, Comoros, Madagascar, the Caribbean, South Florida, other tropical and sub-tropical regions.
Pentas also goes by the name Egyptian star flower and is commonly used as herbal medicine in Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Uganda. What I love about Pentas is they are hardy-type plants that produce clusters of star-shaped flowers with colors of pink, white, purple, and red. Pentas are great to use in wildlife gardens to attract hummingbirds and other pollinators. Pentas are known to be no-toxic and can reach heights of 1 to 3 feet, 3 to 8 feet, and are commonly grown as bedding or container plants.
Pentas plant diseases
Pentas are not bothered by many diseases except Fusarium wilt and Botrytis, also monitor the amount of water they are getting, too much water or soils that are waterlogged can lead to root rot. Signs of root rot are stunted or slow growth, leaves become wilted, mushy, distorted turning a pale color followed by yellowing and browning of the leaves and then leaf drop. Healthy roots also turn from white to brown and black along with being mushy, The key in watering Pentas is soaking the soil and allowing the soil to dry out before applying or giving them another drink.
The fungus that causes this disease lives in the soil and spreads during periods of hot weather, the fungus enters through the plant’s roots and passes up the stem producing toxic substances. The first symptoms of this disease appear as a few yellow leaves or a slight drooping of the lower leaves. Destroy plants at the first sign also rotate crops.
Botrytis is caused by a fungus, this fungus causes grey molds to form on stems, buds, leaves, and flowers, botrytis thrives in weather that’s cool and wet. Avoid overhead irrigation or keep the leaves and flowers from getting wet when watering plants, water from the soil level. Plants should be properly spaced apart for good air circulation, don’t water plants during the night hours also the use of a fungicide that is labeled for this disease should offer help. Infected plants can also be removed and discarded.
Pentas pest problems
The three main insect problems of Pentas are aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies.
Aphids are tiny paired-shaped insects that are listed among the sucking insects, these insects suck the plant’s sap causing yellowing of the leaves followed by leaf defoliation or leaf drop. There are many species of aphids that ranges in colors from green, black, yellow, white, mottled, pink to reddish.
Other signs of aphids presence are poor plant growth, dead or stunted growth along with curled and twisted leaves, all these are signs of their feeding. Depending on the species they can be found on the flowers, fruits, roots leaves, buds, or stems. Aphids are among the easiest garden pests to eliminate.
A strong spray of water from a garden hose will dislodge them from garden plants reducing their population, horticultural oil, neem oil, or insecticidal soap have also been known to bring control. Before using any pesticides read and follow the manufacture’s label for best results.
Spider mites are so tiny that they can hardly be seen with naked eyes, their colors range from green and yellow to brown and red, signs of spider mites includes the presence of spider webbing, yellow or white tiny spots causing the plant leaves to take on a mottled or stippled appearance.
Garden plants also appear to be bleached or bronzed in color, which indicates the infestation level because of their feeding. Spider mites are also listed among the sucking insects by extracting the plant’s sap. A test that will further show that the infestation is spider mites is to hold a white sheet of paper under the plant’s leaves and gently shake or tap the leaves. You will seek tiny specks or spots moving around on the leaves. You will also feel them crawling on your hands and arms. Spider mites can be controlled with dormant and horticultural oil, miticides have proved to be effective. Before using pesticides read and follow the manufacturer’s label for the best results.
Whiteflies are tiny white-winged insects that feed by sucking the plant’s fluids which can lead to yellowing of the leaves followed by leaf defoliation ( leaf drop) To identify whiteflies gently shake or tap the tree if a bunch of insects dislodges from your plant and then quickly re-attaches they are whiteflies. The use of insecticidal soaps will bring these garden insect pests under control.
The names of some Penta species
- ‘Kaleidoscope Pink’ Pentas
- “Kaleidoscope Appleblossom Pentas
- “Kaleidoscope Deep Red” Pentas
- “Graffiti Lipstick” Pentas
- “Graffiti White” Pentas
- “Graffiti Bright Red” Pentas
- “Graffiti Pink” Pentas
- “Graffiti Red Lace” Pentas
- “Butterfly Lavender” Pentas
- “Northern Lights Lanender” Pentas
How to keep your Pentas blooming
To keep your Pentas striving and blooming, plant Pentas in the full sunlight with moist well-drained soil, during dry weather ensure that your Pentas are well watered except for when it rains. To keep your Pentas producing flowers fertilizer them on a monthly basis with 5-5-5 or 13-3-13 or consult your plant nurseryman if these fertilizers are not available. Before applying fertilizers read and follow the manufacturer’s label for the best results.
The final word on Penta plant diseases
As we have discussed Pentas doesn’t have any major diseases making this garden beauty a winner although you will have to keep an eye out for those other issues we discussed. Including Pentas in your garden will not only add that much-needed color but will attract wildlife and pollinators. I love Pentas I am sure you will too as you see them go to work for you, plant some today you will be so happy that you did.