Story and Photos by Yvonne Lelong Bordelon
‘Nova’ and ‘Pink Remembrance’ pentas, also known as Egyptian starflowers, are introduced flowering plants that bring hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees to the garden in droves. These hardy, vigorous beauties with 3-4-inch clusters of star-shaped flowers were recognized by the LSU AgCenter as “Plants with Potential.”
‘Nova’ and ‘Pink Remembrance’ bloom spring through fall, are deer resistant and salt tolerant, and can handle our heat and humidity. They are also mostly “self-cleaning,” so deadheading is not necessary. What more could you ask for?
In North Louisiana pentas, can be planted in containers or used as annuals. Good companions include Angelonia, Stokes’ aster (Stokesia laevis), Lantana, Salvia and porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis). ‘Nova’ is commercially available online at Almost Eden Nursery. ‘Pink Remembrance’ is available at the New Orleans Botanical Garden’s Sales.
Quick Facts and Keys to Success
Common Name: Egyptian starflower, pentas
Botanical Name: Pentas lanceolata
Varieties/Cultivars to Look For: ‘Nova’, ‘Pink Remembrance’
USDA Hardiness Zone(s): 9b-10, 9a with winter protection, others treat as an annual.
Color: Rose pink or light pink
Blooming Period: Late spring through late fall
Type: Tender perennial grown as an annual
Mature Size: 3 feet by 2 feet
Exposure: Morning sun (six to eight hours) with afternoon shade
When to Plant: After last frost in spring
How to Plant: Mass plantings in groups of five or more. Propagate by stem cuttings in early fall.
Soil: Fertile, well-drained, acid
Watering: Deep watering once a week
When to Prune: Cut back in midsummer if plant is too large
When to Fertilize: Monthly or use time-released pellets when planting.
In Your Landscape: Plant large groups of ‘Nova’ and ‘Pink Remembrance’ pentas in mixed beds with nectar-rich natives and old-fashioned flowering plants.