How to Grow and Care for Pentas
The world of plants is truly amazing because there is so much to choose from with their style, shape, and colors that can have your gardens and landscapes looking so polished and beautiful. Among many of the garden, plants that deserve our attention is the Pentas. I have worked with Pentas on several garden projects and just love these garden plants and how they perform.
Pentas are also known as the Egyptian Star, these garden beauties produce many flowers that come in an array of colors from purple, white, red, dark pink, and so on. What also makes Pentas so unique is the small star-shaped flowers that grow in clusters. Pentas can be grown as annuals or perennials and can be planted in a wildlife garden to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
With Pentas you get the best of both worlds, a plant that produces beautiful flower blooms and can also attract wildlife having your garden buzzing with activity. If you think this plant fits your plan for your garden and landscape then I encourage you to go ahead and give these garden plants a try but before you drive to your local nursery and purchase these garden beauties let’s discuss the growth and care of this amazing plant.
When installing Pentas look for a location that gets lots of sunlight even though Pentas can tolerate partial shade.
The soil preference for these plants is a good garden soil that holds the right amount of moisture but drains well.
Give your Pentas a good soaking then allow the soil to dry before giving them another soaking.
Fertilize Pentas during the growing season with a slow-release fertilizer such as Osmocote. Read and follow the manufactures label for direction.
Garden insect pests of Pentas
Keep an eye out for these garden insect pests.
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 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.
Thrips can also cause server damage, I have had many challenging experiences with them. The adult thrips are tiny and slender, with colors of black, brown, or yellow. The babies resemble the parents and are yellow to light green.
The damage of thrips includes white patches on the plant’s leaves along with streaks and slivery speckling this damage is caused because the fluid is being extracted from the plant by these garden insect pests. A serious infestation may also cause leaf drop, the use of insecticidal soap will offer some help.
Aphids are tiny pared shape insects that cause damage by sucking the plant’s fluids causing yellowing of the leaves followed by leaf drop. Aphids are among the easiest of garden insect pests to kill. A strong spray of water from a garden hose will knock them off your Pentas eliminating them however this strong spray of water can also break the leaves and the branches of your Pentas.
The use of insecticidal soap will also give good results or a homemade remedy that has proven to be effective is soap liquid and water. Add a tablespoon of soap liquid to a gallon of water shake well and apply to a 32 oz spray bottle. When applying this mixture get both the top and the underside of the leaves. Adjust the head or the spray nozzle so that this solution can come out fine and misty getting full coverage.
Coarse droppings will be ineffective. Allow this solution to remain for about an hour and a half and then rinse your Pentas with fresh clean water. Wait for seven days and if there are still signs of aphids then repeat the application and follow as was directed.
Diseases of Pentas
There is an old saying which is so true and that is “prevention is better than cure” many garden plants could have been saved if only the proper measures were taken but even if your garden plants fall prey to disease there still may be hope depending on the type of the disease and the stage which it is at. In the case of Pentas to avoid root rot allow the soil to dry between watering and when giving your Pentas a drink of water avoid water getting on the leaves and the flowers. When watering water from the ground or the soil level.
Ideas on where to install them
Here are just a few ideas on where to install Pentas.
1. Pentas can be used as a front drop-in garden bed.
2. Install them in a circular pattern around the trunks of trees.
3. Place them throughout your garden plant bed.
4. Install them in large containers and place them on either side of your front door.
5. Place them in table size containers or baskets and place the containers on an outside patio table or a table near the pool.
6. Alight them in color masses along a garden walking pathway.
Container grown Pentas
A great way to grow Pentas is with the use of containers when installing these garden beauties in a container ensure that the container is the right size to accommodate your plant. The use of good garden soil that drains well but holds the right amount of moisture will work wonders. Place the container in an area that gets full sun but Pentas can also perform in partial sunlight.
The container should have drain holes to allow excess water to drain, wet the soil until the water comes out of the drain holes then allow the soil to dry before watering again. Fertilize as stated earlier along with keeping an eye out for and treating garden insect pests.
Growing Pentas in hanging baskets
When growing Pentas in baskets you have the advantage of placing your baskets on a hard surface or hanging them from a wall or some other area provided that area is getting sufficient sunlight. When installing Pentas in a basket follow the same method as you would if they were being installed in containers. Water, fertilize and keep an eye out for garden insect pests as mentioned earlier.
Deadheading is is the removal of flowers that are faded, deadheading is an added benefit because when you deadhead your Pentas what you are actually doing is stopping your plant from focusing its energy in developing seed head and placing its energy on flower production meaning you will have Pentas with a fresh growth of beautiful flower bloom.
After a while you may notice that your Pentas are getting tall and leggy, the solution in helping your Pentas to retain their natural form is to prune the stems which are tall back to a bud. The cut should be made a few inches above other branches. This will cause your Pentas to become fuller with beautiful green foliage or leaves.
The final word
Pentas are garden beauties that can add so much flavor with their amazing colorful star-like flowers that grow in clusters, these plants can take your garden and landscape to the next level. Pentas are a great investment and will not disappoint but will make you so happy that you made the decision to install them so go ahead and make these babies a part of your garden and landscape design.