Penta flowers, sometimes known as "star flowers," are a good choice for gardeners looking for consistent plants that bloom from year to year but require little maintenance. Pentas grow up to 4.5 feet tall and tolerate full sun to partial shade. The flower adapts to a variety of growing locations, such as containers and garden beds. The unique star-shaped blooms bunch together in circular bundles over deep green foliage. Pentas are available in a variety of colors, including red, pink, white, lavender and purple.
Select a location for the penta, ideally one that will receive full sun. Since the plant is native to Africa and Arabia, it's highly tolerant of sun and temperatures into the 100s. Although pentas prefer full sun, the University of Florida notes that they can bloom with as little as two to three hours of sunlight. Plant the penta in well-draining soil or potting mix; space penta plants 24 inches apart.
Water the plant well, but allow the soil around the plant to turn dry before the next water application. If the plant starts to wilt, you aren't watering it well enough.
Keep the plant in best condition by fertilizing it every month with a liquid fertilizer. Dilute the mixture to half of the strength recommended by the manufacturer, and apply to the soil around the plant.
Pentas deadhead themselves at the end of their growing season, so you have less maintenance on the plant overall.
Treat the penta as a perennial if you live in USDA plant hardiness zone 8 to10. Treat it as an annual in every other USDA plant hardiness zone.
Cover the plant with mulch once it dies for the season, or dig it up and bring it inside to avoid harsh winter temperatures. You can replant the penta in the spring, when the soil warms up.
If you're looking to attract butterflies to your garden, pentas are the perfect choice. Butterflies love the delicate, yet brightly colored penta flowers, particularly the red penta blooms.