Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Care for a Penta Plant

flower pots and trowels image by tim elliott from

Penta (Pentas lanceolata) is an evergreen bush that, in warm climates, will light up the landscape all year with colorful star-shaped clusters. Hummingbirds and butterflies will often visit the penta blooms before they visit other flowering plants. Although penta can survive an occasional light frost, it won't tolerate a hard freeze. If you live in a cold climate, either grow penta as an annual or plant it in a container and bring it indoors for the winter.

Plant penta in full sun or partial shade and well-drained soil. If you're planting more than one penta bush, leave 18 to 24 inches between each plant.

Water pentas when the top of the soil feels dry to the touch. Pentas are only moderately drought-tolerant and will need regular watering, especially during hot, dry weather.

Pinch the tips of penta stems often to encourage a bushy plant and continued blooming. Pinch the stem just above a leaf. Cut blooms as desired. When used in indoor bouquets, the blooms will last three to five days.

Feed the penta plant monthly during spring, summer and fall, using a general-purpose liquid fertilizer. Mix the fertilizer according to the directions on the package and dilute to half strength before applying. Withhold fertilizer during the winter.

Care For A Penta Plant

Prized for their clusters of ever-blooming, star-shaped flowers, penta plants (Pentas lanceolata) are the shrub of choice for many home gardeners in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 to 11. Heavy clay or locations in which water collects are not good choices. Containers should have holes in the base to allow water to freely drain. Water your penta plant when the top of the soil feels dry. Store them in a cool but bright location. Penta plants rarely suffer from serious pest infestations, but if you do see any pests, rinse them from the plant with a strong stream of water from your garden hose. Use a container that drains. Fertilize once a month spring through fall with an all-purpose, water-soluble fertilizer. Instructions vary depending on the specific brand, but concentrated formulas usually require that you dilute 1 teaspoon of liquid concentrate per gallon of water. Watch for whiteflies, which sometimes infest indoor penta plants. They often cluster on the undersides of leaves.

Garden Guides