How to Plant and Grow Pentas

These pollinator-attracting plants bring butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees to your garden.

Pentas (Pentas lanceolata) is one of the best pollinator-attracting plants around. It blooms all summer long, even during the hottest weather conditions. The large clusters of starry blooms on pentas are the perfect landing pads for pollinators such as butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. Blooms come in shades of pink, white, red, and lavender. The plant grows well both in the ground and in containers and even makes a good houseplant if enough light is present.

Pentas plant Northern Lights

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

Pentas Overview

Genus Name Pentas lanceolata
Common Name Pentas
Plant Type Annual, Perennial
Light Sun
Height 1 to 3 feet
Width 12 to 48 inches
Flower Color Pink, Purple, Red, White
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Fall Bloom, Summer Bloom
Special Features Attracts Birds, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 10, 11
Propagation Leaf Cuttings, Seed, Stem Cuttings

Where to Plant Pentas

Pentas plants are grown as annuals in most climates but are perennial in warmer areas (USDA Hardiness Zones 10 and 11). Native to Africa and Arabia, pentas tolerates hot, humid summers and makes a great bedding and container plant.

Pentas Care Tips

Overall, pentas are low-maintenance and easy to grow in any garden setting.


Ideally, pentas prefer to be planted in full sun.

Soil and Water

Plant pentas in moist, well-drained soil that has a neutral pH. Pentas dry out quickly, so give them supplemental water during dry spells.


Give pentas a dose of balanced liquid fertilizer on a monthly basis to keep up flower production.


The overall habit of these plants is neat and compact. If plants get too long and woody, cut them back—the plants will rejuvenate themselves. You can also prevent overgrowth by giving the plants a pinch at the tips when they are young to encourage low branching. Keep plants deadheaded and remove any spent blooms to encourage the constant reproduction of flowers.

Pests and Problems

Newer varieties have improved disease resistance. While pentas don't face many problems with disease, spider mites and aphids can be a problem. Keep an eye out for these (especially in the heat of the summer) and take care of them at the first signs of a problem.

How to Propagate Pentas

To propagate pentas, cut off a stem and remove the bloom and most of the leaves. Dip the stem in rooting powder and insert it into potting soil. Keep it moist and in a shady place while the roots develop. You can also use leaf cuttings or grow pentas from seed.

Types of Pentas

Penta varieties bloom in colors that range from white and pale lavender to pink and deep red. Here are some favorites.

'Butterfly Light Lavender' Pentas

Pentas Butterfly Light Lavender

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

Pentas 'Butterfly Light Lavender' bears lavender-pink flower heads on compact 14-inch-tall plants.

'Graffiti Bright Red' Pentas

Graffiti Bright Red blooming pentas
Dean Schoeppner

Pentas 'Graffiti Bright Red' bears large clusters of rich-red flowers on dwarf 12-inch-tall plants.

'Graffiti Lipstick' Pentas

Pentas Graffiti Lipstick
Justin Hancock

Pentas 'Graffiti Lipstick' is adorned by clusters of bright rosy-pink flowers on compact 12-inch-tall plants.

'Graffiti Pink' Pentas

Graffiti pink Pentas lanceolata
Marty Baldwin

Pentas 'Graffiti Pink' bears big heads of pink flowers on 12-inch-tall plants.

'Graffiti Red Lace' Pentas

Pentas Graffiti Red Lace

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

Pentas 'Graffiti Red Lace' bears large heads of red flowers with white centers on 1-foot-tall plants.

'Graffiti White' Pentas

Pentas Graffiti White

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

Pentas 'Graffiti White' bears large flower heads of pure-white blooms on 12-inch-tall plants.

'Kaleidoscope Appleblossom' Pentas

Pentas Kaleidoscope Appleblossom

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

Pentas 'Kaleidoscope Appleblossom' shows off clusters of soft-pink flowers through the summer. It grows 18 inches tall.

'Kaleidoscope Deep Red' Pentas

Pentas Kaleidoscope Deep Red

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

Pentas 'Kaleidoscope Deep Red' is an especially showy selection with clusters of rich-red flowers all summer long. It grows 18 inches tall.

'Kaleidoscope Pink' Pentas

Pink Pentas Butterfly Light Lavender
Marty Baldwin

Pentas 'Kaleidoscope Pink' bears large clusters of soft-pink blooms on 18-inch-tall plants.

'Northern Lights Lavender' Pentas

Pentas Northern Lights Lavender
Justin Hancock

Pentas 'Northern Lights Lavender' is a large selection that's been bred to tolerate cooler temperatures. It offers lavender-pink flowers on a 4-foot-tall plant.

Pentas Companion Plants


Lantana Luscious Citrus Blend
Justin Hancock

If you have a hot, baked spot, lantana is your answer. This hardworking plant not only thrives with little moisture and in full, unyielding sun, it does so with ease. In fact, lantana is a flower that seems to have it all: It produces an abundance of brightly colored flowers all summer and fall, and it's a magnet for butterflies (hummingbirds like it, too). It's easy to grow and a great choice for containers. Plus, if you have a sunny spot indoors, you can grow it as a charming indoor plant. In frost-free climates (Zones 9–11), it's a great perennial groundcover, as well.



BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

There are few gardens that don't have at least one salvia growing in them. Whether you have sun or shade, a dry garden or lots of rainfall, there's a salvia that you'll find indispensable. All attract hummingbirds, especially the red ones, and are great picks for hot, dry sites where you want tons of color all season. Most salvias don't like cool weather, so plant them outdoors after all danger of frost has passed.

African Marigold

African marigold

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

There's nothing subtle about an African marigold, and thank goodness for that! It's a big, flamboyant, colorful punch of color for the sunny bed, border, or large container. Most are yellow, orange, or cream. Plants get up to 3 feet tall and produce huge 3-inch puffball blooms, while dwarf varieties get just 1 foot tall. The mounded dark green foliage is always clean, fresh, and tidy. Grow them in a warm, sunny spot with moist, well-drained soil all summer long.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I overwinter pentas as a houseplant?

    It is easiest to overwinter pentas that are in containers, but you can transplant the garden plants into pots. Bring the plants inside before the first frost in your area. Set them in a sunny window in a warm room. Winter care for fully grown pentas is difficult, so taking cuttings and rooting them is a more common method of overwintering this popular plant.

  • What is eating my pentas?

    Pentas are deer-resistant, rabbits don’t like them, and most other animals pass them by. However, pentas are a host plant for the caterpillars of the tersa sphinx moth, and one caterpillar can strip a pentas stem of flowers overnight. They are large enough to pluck off a plant manually when you see one.

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