Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Pentas (Star Cluster)

 Scientific Name : Pentas Lanceolata
 Family : Rubiaceae
 Colour : Pink, White, Magenta, Red, Lavender, Salmon, Purple
 Common names : Egyptian Star Cluster, Star flower
 Flowering Season : Throughout the year

Pentas Lanceolata, native to Northeastern Africa and Egypt are a favourite of home gardeners and landscapers. This tropical plant comes in different varieties; larger specimens are erect shrubs with woody stems while smaller plants are low mounds, considered herbaceous . This perennial with dark lush green, lance-shaped 3 to 5 inch long hairy deep veined leaves and star shaped small flowers in round clusters may grow upright to about 3 feet height depending on its variety. Flowers can be seen in white, lavender, purple, red and pink in single and double shades. In warm weather, the plant grows fast and stays in bloom constantly. In cold weather, it can be treated as an annual and replanted every spring. It is an ideal container plant and can also be used as beds, borders or grown indoors in a sunny room. 

Propagation and Care

Pentas Lanceolata are easily grown in medium wet and well-drained organically rich, fertile soils in part shade to full sun. Usually the propagation of Pentas is from stem cutting. It may also be grown from seed started indoors approximately 8-10 weeks before last frost date. Water regularly during the growing season. Keep soil moist and fertilize every two weeks. 

Pentas are usually highly tolerant of heat, soil conditions and pests, and requires little maintenance. But it may be disturbed by aphids and spider mites. Whiteflies can be particularly troublesome in indoor plants. This bushy plant blooms year round and yields better blooms in full sun. Keep the plant bushy and shapely by pinching off the tips of stems and retaining its size to 12 to 18 inches tall.