Pentas Across Texas

Pink pentas

It hasn’t been too many years ago that Texans hardly knew pentas from palm trees, but that’s all changed. And it wasn’t because of the palm trees. Hybridizers have bred compact habit and durability into this great group of summertime annuals, and now they’re some of our most dependable hot weather color. You’ll find them in shades of red, pink, white and lavender.

You’ll see several strains of pentas in the marketplace. Names like “Butterfly” and “Kaleidoscope” will pop up frequently. But here’s what our friend Jimmy Turner says about the Graffiti series after his extensive plant trials and use of it at the Dallas Arboretum:

“Pentas have come a long way in the last few years. Not too long ago pentas were available only in a few colors and were tall gangly plants that did not flower heavily. The ‘Graffiti’ series is destined to become a staple of Texas gardens. Easily grown in full sun or shade, the 12-inch tall mounds are constantly blanketed by large clusters of flowers. And like all pentas this series shrugs off our Texas heat and humidity and keeps on blooming until frost.”

Give your pentas highly organic, constantly moist planting soils. They’re also very well suited for use in containers. At least half a day of direct sunlight will ensure normal heavy blooming. Apply a high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food every couple of weeks to keep the plants growing actively and blooming profusely. You are very unlikely to see insect or disease problems with them. Given those few starters, pentas should bloom right up to frost.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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