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Pentas, Egyptian Star Cluster, Star Flower

Pentas lanceolata

Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Pentas (PEN-tass) (Info)
Species: lanceolata (lan-see-oh-LAY-tuh) (Info)
View this plant in a garden



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:





White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Blooms all year

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Auburn, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama

Fort Smith, Arkansas

North Little Rock, Arkansas

Agoura Hills, California

Carlsbad, California

Clayton, California

Fortuna, California

Irvine, California

Lompoc, California

Merced, California

Palm Springs, California

Pasadena, California

Perris, California (2 reports)

Roseville, California

Sacramento, California

San Marcos, California

Santa Ana, California

Santa Clara, California

Apopka, Florida

Auburndale, Florida

Bartow, Florida (2 reports)

Big Pine Key, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida

Boynton Beach, Florida

Bradenton, Florida

Bradley, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Cape Coral, Florida

Clearwater, Florida (2 reports)

Crawfordville, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

Deland, Florida

Deltona, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Goodland, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida (2 reports)

Lake Butler, Florida

Lakeland, Florida

Largo, Florida

Lithia, Florida

Maitland, Florida

Melbourne, Florida

Merritt Island, Florida

Palm Coast, Florida (2 reports)

Pensacola, Florida

Port Charlotte, Florida

Reddick, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Safety Harbor, Florida

Saint Cloud, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Shalimar, Florida

Sorrento, Florida

Spring Hill, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Titusville, Florida

Umatilla, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Winter Haven, Florida

Winter Springs, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida

Augusta, Georgia

Cordele, Georgia

Lawrenceville, Georgia

Stone Mountain, Georgia

Derby, Kansas

Lafayette, Louisiana

Mandeville, Louisiana

Monroe, Louisiana (2 reports)

Saint Francisville, Louisiana

Westlake, Louisiana

Las Vegas, Nevada

Pound Ridge, New York

Greensboro, North Carolina

Mount Olive, North Carolina

Sanford, North Carolina

Lancaster, Ohio

Zanesville, Ohio

Enid, Oklahoma

Camden, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina

Conway, South Carolina

Swansea, South Carolina

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Allen, Texas

Edinburg, Texas

Emory, Texas

Garland, Texas

Houston, Texas (6 reports)

Humble, Texas

Katy, Texas (2 reports)

La Porte, Texas

Leander, Texas

Nome, Texas

Portland, Texas

Richmond, Texas

Round Rock, Texas

San Angelo, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Spring, Texas

Sugar Land, Texas

Willis, Texas

Woodway, Texas

Christiansted, Virgin Islands

Ona, West Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 1, 2019, newman00 from Monroe, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Ive grown these in south and north Louisiana in containers in full or part sun. They do extremely well and get large if given larger pots. Deadhead to keep them pretty. Most of my plants are succulents, so sometimes I forget about the pentas in the middle of summer and they start wilting a little. But give them some water and they perk right up. Last winter I left the pot outside the whole time, and then in spring they came right back.


On Jul 13, 2015, djwaszmer from Cape Coral, FL wrote:

I live in Cape Coral, Florida. My father, who has retired here from Long Island, had a coconut in his backyard that was growing something from it. It certainly wasn't a palm. He let it grow to see the leaf shape and flowers. We found out that it is the pink variety of this plant. Despite growing out of a coconut, the plant is beautiful and attracts many butterflies and also bees. It's a nice addition to my gardens.


On Mar 11, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is also a great plant for containers and bedding where summers are warm, including here (Boston MA Z6a). Blooms continuously with deadheading.


On Mar 10, 2015, HatcherTiger from Lafayette, LA wrote:

Finally an annual that can stand up to the high heat and humidity that are a regular part of the South Louisiana summers. Keep it watered and it will reward you blooms until it freezes. I grew some in a post last summer and brought them in with each freeze. They are doing well and NEVER stopped blooming! I'm sure with protection they can be treated as a tender perennial.


On Dec 9, 2013, floreseta from Port Charlotte, FL wrote:

I bought five pentas (in different colors) in the spring, they are in pots. They've really bushed out, and are beautiful, absolutely full of flowers, the bees love them and the occasional butterfly, I couldn't be happier. They are so easy to grow. I put a few drops of Schultz all purpose plant food in the water every day, if I forget to water them they go droopy. Now I know they can survive the winter in Florida, I'm thinking of planting them in the ground. This plant is the most successful, out of all the plants, I've tried to grow. Touch wood, they've not been bothered with pests.


On Nov 3, 2013, dangan from Bet Shemesh,
Israel wrote:

I have a few Pentas' in Israel - summers are very hot and winters mild - the red and pink ones, planted in full shade - they haven't seen any sunlight now for more than a month, and they're still blooming quite nicely, growing more blooms as well. I have a few in full sun which grow new blooms much quicker, but the fact that they make this long-lasting flowers in the full full shade is really a big bonus, in case I get a bit bored of all the impatiens and begonias in my very shady garden. They do pretty well without much water as well.


On Apr 17, 2013, whenpigsfly from Willis, TX wrote:

I'm north of Conroe (Zone 8b) and have two pentas.

The one in the ground was planted in 2011 near the house and hasn't been affected by brief temps in the upper 20s . The other was planted in late 2012 in a large container out in the open; it had some light freeze damage and was pruned back to the ground. It's already blooming.

Butterflies love them!


On May 9, 2012, Pentagirl from Enid, OK wrote:

As you can probably tell by my username, I am a lover of Pentas. They were my "must-have" plant when I lived in the DFW TX. area and even now living in north central OK.
I just can't say enough about how easy, beautiful and tolerant these delicate looking flowers are! The hotter and drier the summer gets, the more these beauties seem to thrive. They flower non-stop spring through fall and I never dead-head mine.... It's really not necessary. Full sun is needed for best output.


On Feb 15, 2012, LoveForests from FU,
United States (Zone 9b) wrote:

I have the white Pentas. They bloom often and have bushy green leaves. Little butterflies visit the flowers every day. Not sure how many years this plant lives but I hope they are around for a long time. Would love to get many more of them.

Since I live in a hot area, I added more soft rich soil to the ground when I planted them, so the soil would retain water longer.


On Nov 20, 2011, coastalzonepush from Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

very beautiful plant. it seems to be a water lover under my care and can get leggy. i especially like red flowered pentas, they are stunning when paired with white pentas. really dependable if you are looking for constant blooms. i dont really notice the butterflies stopping by them, but the display makes up for that loss.


On Apr 6, 2011, astilbe2 from Monroe, LA wrote:

I have successfully grown the red penta plants for several years in the northern part of Louisiana. They bloom continuously from April through October in our area. No problem surviving during the brutal l00 degree heat wave last summer.


On Jan 26, 2011, sunkissed from Winter Springs, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Pentas are one of my most favorite flower in the garden. I've had every color under the sun, but my favorite is the deep red. Pentas will freeze when temperatures are below 32 for too long, however I cut mine down and most will come back, unless too many hours in the twenties. I have some in the ground and some in pots. My pentas usually last anywhere from two to four seasons, they just seem to grow tired after awhile. I did buy one from a local nursery this past year that had mealy bugs on it...I tried to rid them with organic sprays and soaps but eventually had to pull and throw the plant away. Other than the one bought with bugs I've never had a pest problem with them. I've had a few volunteer seedlings come up in unexpected areas and moved them with success to more preferred areas. Cut... read more


On Dec 10, 2010, ThomPotempa from Houston, TX wrote:

Being a yankee yah, where has this plant been all of my life?

Man, I couldn't get anything to do well down here (like trying marigolds, etc.) since I refuse to water.

These things rocked during our drought conditions this year. No water.


On Jul 10, 2010, dshearron from Murfreesboro, TN wrote:

I just planted red pentas all around my yard...they are mainly in full sun. They bloom beautifully and attract butterflies. It has been very hot here this summer - in the 90s every day - so I do have to water them quite a bit. I am in zone 7, middle Tennessee.

A question - mine have a lot of spots on the leaves (white). Any ideas?


On Feb 27, 2010, elizatara from San Diego, CA wrote:

my experience w/two pentas plants was, for the first several years (about six) very satisfactory. it's so nice to have plants that bloom year-round.

however, for at least the last six months, the plants (particularly the larger one) produce flowers, but the leaves look droopy. since we're in a climate zone that's mild throughout the year, and no pests seem to gravitate toward pentas, and nothing's changed w/regard to watering or light conditions, i'm at a loss as to what the problem might be.

any suggestions?


On Jan 6, 2010, ejmonaghan from Palm Coast, FL wrote:

After a hard frost what should be done


On May 5, 2009, gingern from Irvine, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Have grown several cultivars with great success. They are perennial in SoCal. They turn brown in December and I butcher them back to 6" sticks in every January (same as hybrid tea roses and fuchsias). Hummingbirds and bees love these and they are not bothered by pests in my garden (got tastier plants around). They do require lots of water in Summer, but do not water foliage or it will turn brown and look terrible. Regular deadheading is a must.


On Feb 10, 2009, max2musFL from Winter Haven, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I planted my red pentas about January 3 and it froze several times since then. I just used an old bedsheet to cover it, and every time it froze the flowers on the weaker stem dried up but so far they're just amazing. (Winter Haven, FL)


On Mar 26, 2008, sue71 from Leander, TX wrote:

Last summer I had planted Pentas in my garden and they were beautiful! The flowers survived the brutal Texas heat - I was thrilled! So far this spring I do not see the Pentas resurfacing. I live outside of Austin, TX and by other reviews I see that Pentas do return in TX. Can anyone else from the area let me know if I need to wait for the Pentas to return or should I dig them up and plant new ones? The Pentas did experience frost from the winter season so maybe they finished? Any input would be greatly appreciated- Thanks, Sue Kleidon - Howell


On Jan 25, 2007, BST_Lover from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Someone mentioned that an "insect defoliated" their penta plant. That is probably the Tersa Sphinx moth caterpillars. These are beautiful sphinx moths and their favorite host plant is penta, especially the red ones.

I grow them especially for the moths.



On Jan 24, 2007, FloridaG8or from Lake Butler, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have planted five pentas into my butterfly/hummingbird garden, with success. The only problem is I lost one (no idea why), and this years screwed up winter cycle here in North Florida might do them in. It freezes, warms up for a week, then freezes, etc. etc. The pentas seem not to like this trick too much as they are begining to burn and not recover. Other than that, a must have for any butterfly garden.


On Jul 9, 2006, crowellli from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Pentas do great here in Houston, but with our zone 9a heat, they can't take as much direct sun. Mine have overwintered in the garden and are about 3 years old now. They are planted in dappled shade with no direct sunlight and bloom practically non stop year round. If they do get singed from a frost, I cut them back and they pop right back.


On Feb 6, 2006, Don_Mader from Victoria, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I have both a red and a pink penta on the southern side of my house, but both receive mostly morning sun. They over-winter well here in Victoria, TX., blooming thru-out the year.

Once established, they tolerate the south Texas heat with no problem, and no insects seem to bother them. A very nice low maintenance shrub. Highly recommended.


On Sep 25, 2005, jestelleoan from Tyler, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This plant does very well here. It takes very little care and the bugs do not bother it much but the butterflies and bees love it.
I do think you will be very happy with it show. It will take some shade but it does like the sun.


On Apr 18, 2005, Kameha from Kissimmee, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Ah just thinking of this plant brings back some memories. When I moved into this house it was the only plant in the whole yard...just one weirdly planted cluster in the middle of the yard. I divided it in February of 2003 and planted it all along a walkway. They flourished for a year and a half...attracting wild butterflies and hummingbirds and providing nectar for my own raised and released butterflies. Then Hurricane Charley came...with its 100+ mph winds it blew over all my bushes. I staked them (since they had gotten over 3 feet tall and had woody stems). Then came Frances and then Jeanne and then I lost about half of them due to all their roots being ripped from them. I moved the rest on the side of the house where they are still blooming and growing...they have about 3 inch d... read more


On Aug 31, 2004, LindaInLargoFL from Hendersonville, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant just keeps growing and growing and growing in Largo, FL. I am ready to prune it back (again) Pentas do extremely well here. I just love them.


On Jul 27, 2004, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I have the variegated red penta planted in partial sun. Local nursery said it was "rare" and it must be 'cause I haven't seen another one. Blooms all summer, in mild houston weather, it has not died back on me. Just added a regular white penta, hope it does as well as the variegated red.


On Sep 3, 2003, JenniferG from Shalimar, FL (Zone 8a) wrote:

Pentas grow beautifully in northwest Florida (U.S.), returning every year except after a particulaly cold winter. They thrive in the hot, steamy sun in mostly sandy soil. They are attractive to me and to butterflyies and the funny hummingbird moth.


On Aug 31, 2003, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

The bright pink/magenta variety has always out performed the red and violet ones in my yard. Pentas are supposed to be biennials, but I have had the pink/magenta plants faithfully coming back in the spring for over 8 years. Some are located in full sun, others are in partial sun and still others in filtered shade. Those receiving full sun and morning sun, then afternoon filtered sun do the best having more blooms. The red and bright pink/magenta attract butterflies more than the other pentas and more than any other plants in my yard.

I have had problems with an insect eating almost all of the leaves off the plant in one night, but the plant rebounded quickly. Having 108*F temperatures for two days this summer did not slow them down. A tough, reliable, practically carefree pl... read more


On Aug 31, 2003, moon73 wrote:

Soil pH below 6.2 is bad for Pentas, causing leaf tips to brown. To correct this, my personal choice is colloidal phosphate. The butterflies,humming birds and honey bees love pentas like anything. In brutal Texas (U.S.) heat, Pentas have proven to be a winner.


On Aug 26, 2003, bfroberts from Mount Olive, NC wrote:

I grow pentas in eastern North Carolina (U.S.) They are one of my favorite flowers because they bloom all summer long. They over-winter well here with a covering of straw or mulch in the fall. I have plantings in full sun, part sun, and full shade and all plants bloom profusely.


On Jul 15, 2002, oblongomaculatus from Cambridge,
United Kingdom wrote:

I grow Pentas in the UK is a greenhouse as a nectar plant for tropical butterflies. There is no flower they like better. Propagation is easy by softwood cutting, and seeds can be taken from dried seedheads. Seedlings are tricky to handle at first as they are so small but once they grow a little they are no trouble. Flowering in three months from seed, the plants seem to prefer a peaty soil. They do OK outside in our cool climate grown in pots, but are better under glass.


On Jun 9, 2002, signal20 from Orlando, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

An excellent perennial in warm weather climates (such as Florida, U.S.)

Easy to grow, but will wilt in full summer sun; the next watering will help it bounce back. No major problems.


On Aug 31, 2001, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Pentas do best in at least four hours of direct sunlight a day, night temperatures of 50 to 65 and day temperatures of 68 or higher. Keep soil moist and fertilize every two weeks. Propagate from stem cuttings at any time.