How to Trim Penta Plants Down
Penta plants are 3- to 4-foot shrubs that are evergreen in some warmer climates of the United States, such as southern Florida. The penta can be damaged by frost in other areas, so it needs to be cut back before winter sets in. Pentas can also be cut back to control their sprawling size, or if they become too leggy or top heavy. Pruned pentas will resprout in spring when the weather warms, and will produce white, pink or red flowers on the new growth.
Wait for the blooming season to end. Deadhead the plant during the blooming season by picking off faded blooms to encourage further flower production until it is too cold for any more blooms to appear.
Cut the penta back to 12 inches above soil level with sharp pruning shears. Do this in the late fall or early winter. Compost or discard the plant material you have removed.
Apply a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch around the base of the plant to keep it from heaving out of the ground during winter's frost/thaw cycle. You can also dig up the cut back penta, pot it and store it in a garage over winter.
Repeat the cutting back every winter. This prevents the plants from getting leggy, controls the size and prevents frost damage to the foliage.
Trim Penta Plants Down
Cut Egyptian star flowers to use in cut flower arrangements -- remove two-thirds or more of the flower stalk. Pinch back spent blooms to encourage branching and concentrate the plant's growth on flowering rather than seed production. Trim branches to shape the plant any time of year, but cut perennial plants back to about 4 inches tall after they stop blooming to encourage branching for the next bloom. Remove Egyptian star flowers grown as annuals after the first fall freeze.
- University of Florida: Pentas lanceolata Pentas; Edward F. Gilman, Suzanne Shiffit
- Orlando Sentinel: Take a Stake in Saving These Pooped-Out Pentas Plants; Tom Maccubbin; October 24, 2004
- University of Vermont Extension: Pentas
- Texas A&M University: Egyptian Star Flower
- Volusia County, Florida: Penta/Star Flower
- University of Arkansas Research and Extension: Tropicals -- Penta
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Pentas lanceolata