September 2, 2018
One of my favorite duties hosting Southern Gardening is promoting great plants for our gardens and landscapes and this segment will not disappoint. Today I’m in Poplarville looking at one of the best flowers for our summer landscapes. Pentas have great tolerance of the heat and humidity of our Mississippi summers. Pentas comes from the Latin meaning five; each small flower has five petals that look like colorful stars. The star-like reference is appropriate as one common name for pentas is Egyptian Star Cluster. Flowers are produced in clusters from spring until frost in the fall. It’s common for each plant to have up to 20 clusters of flowers at any given time. Besides providing great color for us to enjoy, pentas are a garden magnet for butterflies and pollinators because they are a rich source of nectar all summer long. A favorite newer series is the Graffiti pentas. These are well-branched with dark leaves that contrast with the bright and beautiful large clusters of flowers. There are many colors available including pink, lipstick, lavender, rose and white. Graffiti pentas will grow up to 16 inches tall and about 12 inches wide. But my new favorite pentas are the Lucky Star series. These plants have the same color palette of the Graffiti series but only better. The Lucky’s are well-branched with a more compact growth habit. One final tip, be sure to deadhead the spent flower clusters as this will promote more flowering later in the summer. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman and I’ll see you next time on Southern Gardening.