Pentas is a top performer in summer gardens

Richard Bogren, Owings, Allen D.  |  6/19/2015 7:59:22 PM

Butterfly pentas is a low-maintenance flower with great blooms through late fall. (Photo by Allen Owings, LSU AgCenter)

News Release Distributed 06/19/15

By Allen Owings
LSU AgCenter horticulturist

HAMMOND, La. – If you’re looking for some great summer color for your landscape beds from now through our first killing frost this fall, the Butterfly series of pentas will give you that, and maybe even more.

This seed-propagated hybrid is distinctive for its compact growth habit and flowers larger than other pentas. It also has excellent garden performance. Superb heat and humidity tolerance make this summer bedding plant a reliable choice for Louisiana gardeners. Expect excellent garden performance with this Louisiana Super Plant.

The series includes a variety of colors – Butterfly Deep Rose, Butterfly White, Butterfly Blush, Butterfly Deep Pink, Butterfly Light Lavender, Butterfly Lavender and Butterfly Red. This series of pentas has been selected as Louisiana Super Plants by the LSU AgCenter.

Pentas (Pentas lanceolata) are also called Egyptian starflowers. The flowers are highly attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. The Butterfly series are great nectar plants. Clusters of five-petaled flowers are produced continuously all summer from spring to first frost. A single plant may produce 15 to 20 flower clusters at one time. The large blooms make excellent cut flowers.

Pentas do well when planted later in the spring. June is not too late to consider a planting. In fact this year, pentas will do better if they are planted later because of our cool and very wet spring growing season.

Ideally, plant pentas 12-16 inches apart in a well-prepared, raised landscape bed. They prefer full to partial sun. The mature height of Butterfly pentas is 18-24 inches, and they will grow to be 12-18 inches wide. You can also plant them in containers as a filler or “thriller” plant.

Fertilize pentas at planting with a slow-release fertilizer. They do not need considerable irrigation. Just water well to get them established, then irrigate once weekly in the absence of significant rainfall.

Remove faded blossoms and lightly pinch overgrown plants to encourage continual flowering. You will have an abundance of butterflies anytime you have pentas in the landscape, and even more butterflies when you have Butterfly pentas.

Plant pentas in combination with the Serena angelonias. You could also mix them with Profusion zinnias, lantanas, coreopsis, perennial verbena, butterfly bushes, agapanthus or ornamental grasses if you’re looking for combination ideas.

You can also consider the New Look and Grafitti pentas, which also perform well in Louisiana.
You can see more about work being done in landscape horticulture by visiting the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station website. Also, like us on Facebook. You can find an abundance of landscape information for both home gardeners and industry professionals at both sites.

Rick Bogren

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