Long-lasting pentas bloom spring to frost

Published 9:43 am Monday, October 16, 2023

By Eddie Smith
MSU Extension Service

I absolutely love promoting great plants that are perfect for our gardens and landscapes. Some of these plants are those Mississippi State University grows as part of a testing program for plant breeders.

Recently, I had the pleasure of touring a trial planting of pentas that have performed exceptionally well this year in Poplarville at the South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station. The Butterfly series of pentas were really showing out in early October.

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Butterfly pentas are a stunning addition to any garden with a wide range of colors and varieties that are sure to catch your eye. Colors include pink, purple, red and white. They can be grown in containers or garden beds.

These plants bloom from spring until the first fall frost, with up to 20 clusters of flowers on a single plant at any given time. Each small flower has five petals that resemble colorful stars, making it a perfect choice for gardeners who love vibrant colors and unique shapes.

One of the standout varieties in the Butterfly series is the Butterfly White penta. This plant boasts classic white blooms that resemble bright stars. The blooms stand out against the backdrop of dark green foliage. If you’re looking for a stunning, low-maintenance plant that can add an elegant touch to your garden or landscape, Butterfly White penta is worth considering.

The Butterfly Orchid penta is another stunning variety that showcases striking blooms that are typically a shade of pink or light purple, adding a touch of whimsy and playfulness to any garden.

If you are a gardener who loves bold and vibrant colors, then the Butterfly Deep Rose penta is the perfect choice for you. This variety showcases deep, dark pink flowers with light pink eyes, making it a standout addition to any garden.

Lastly, the Butterfly Light Lavender penta is a unique and beautiful variety. It has lavender-colored flowers that can add a touch of serenity and calmness to your outdoor space.

Like other pentas, the Butterfly pentas attract butterflies and other pollinators, making them an essential addition to any garden. They provide a rich nectar source from summer through fall.

When planting pentas, it’s important to keep in mind that they thrive in a neutral soil pH of about 7. To achieve this, consider adding a small amount of dolomitic limestone to the soil. They also prefer well-drained soil that’s rich in organic matter.

Be sure to plant pentas in a location with full sun exposure. Water regularly, but be careful not to overwater, as pentas are susceptible to root rot. Fertilize monthly with a balanced fertilizer to promote healthy growth and blooming.

To ensure that your pentas continue to bloom beautifully throughout the year, deadhead spent flower clusters. Removing blooms when they fade promotes more flowering.

Pentas are an excellent plant choice for gardeners looking to add a touch of beauty and vibrancy to their garden while also attracting beneficial insects and pollinators.

With their extended blooming period and range of colors and varieties, the Butterfly series pentas are a must-have for any garden. Be sure to include them in your plans for next year.