Pentas Come of Age
When I was a kid, pentas were too tall to be practical. Oh, they were pretty, but they were gangly and it was hard to work them into nice gardens. It’s been fun to see hybridizers work with them until now they’re some of America’s most widely used garden flowers.
Here’s what pentas need…
Lighting: Direct sunlight for 6 or more hours per day.
Soil: Well-draining, highly organic. Rototill several inches of different sources of organic matter and 1 inch of expanded shale into the top 10 inches of topsoil.
Moisture: Constantly moist. Not that you want to keep the plants wet all the time, but you certainly don’t want to let them get dry.
Fertility: Fertilized every week or two with high-nitrogen, water-soluble food. A siphoning proportioner is an easy way to deliver it, or you could blend a timed-release plant food into the soil.
Pest problems: I had a hornworm (just one) visit my pentas a couple of years ago. I found a stick, and I moved it to another part of our gardens. Hopefully it was able to find another plant as a food source – just not my pentas.
When you grow them in pots…
Things ramp up just a bit when you grow any plant, pentas included, in pots. Nutrients drain away more quickly and the plants tend to dry out more rapidly. They’re incredibly successful in pots, but be prepared to watch them mornings and evenings to tend to their needs.