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PENTAS

Image of Pentas

Jessie Keith

Family

Rubiaceae

Botanical Name

PENTAS

Plant Common Name

Pentas

General Description

Pentas are tropical plants native to Africa, Arabia and Madagascar. The genus comprises 34 to 40 species of perennials, biennials and shrubs. Most species bear beautiful clusters of colorful flowers and are grown as bedding plants. They are in Rubiaceae, the same plant family as other popular tropicals such as Ixora, Gardenia and Coffee.

Borne in pairs or triads along upright or lax stems, the oval to lance-shaped, evergreen leaves are typically grass green. Domed or flat-topped clusters of long-throated flowers with five-lobed tips appear at the ends of the branches. Bloom is nearly perpetual in mild climates. Flowers may be white, pink, red, purple, or combinations thereof. Butterlies and hummingbirds flock to the flowers. The fruit is a capsule which splits at the tip to spill many dust-fine seeds.

The many cultivars and hybrids of Pentas lanceolata are popular as short-lived perennials in warm zones and as annuals and indoor plants in cooler areas. Plant them in well-drained, humus-rich soil. Plants will tolerate light shade and drought, but will bloom most heavily with full sun and regular watering. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage more blooms, and prune plants every so often to encourage new growth. Pentas are propagated by seed and cuttings. Plants grown as summer annuals should be started indoors in late winter.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Broadleaf Evergreen

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    1'-6' / 0.3m - 1.8m

  • Width

    1'-3' / 0.3m - 0.9m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Africa, Madagascar

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Red, Purple, Pink

  • Fruit Color

    Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Container, Houseplant, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    No