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The Penta, Pentas lanceolata, is sometimes called Egyptian star flower because of the bloom’s five-pointed shape. This easy to grow plant provides year-round color and texture in borders, containers or flower beds. The Penta is a warm region tropical blooming plant and its nectar-rich clusters of red, pink, white or lavender flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies; the red Penta is a butterfly’s favorite.

This plant comes in both annual and perennial varieties. The perennial types are hardy in zones 10 and 11. Pentas can also be planted as annuals in cooler climates but are frost sensitive. You can overwinter them in containers by placing them near a sunny window during winter months. Growing at least 2 feet tall, and producing lush, green foliage, a Penta plant provides summer-long flowering with proper care.

Select a well-drained area where there will be as much sun as possible. At least six hours of direct sun is needed to stimulate their growth. In hotter climates, plant where there is full sun with a little afternoon shade during the heat of the day. If too much shade, the Penta plant will flower less abundantly, and you will miss out on the profusion of color it provides. Water regularly during the growing season to keep the soil moist. (Pentas can be toxic to animals, especially sheep.)