Plant of the Month
Pentas / Egyptian Star Cluster (Pentas lanceolata)
Containers are one of the pleasures of the summer garden, and choosing their contents is a lot of fun. There are many beautiful annuals to choose, but Pentas is one that I make sure to include every summer. They come in many colors from white through pinks to ruby red and purple. They grow slowly in early summer, but from midsummer to fall they produce a lot of flowers after some annuals have begun to decline. There are now different sizes--some stay no taller than 18 inches and others may grow to 30 inches. Of course, you could also plant them in a sunny bed, but they are also happy in part shade.
The reason I make sure to include this flower every year is that the butterflies of late summer really love them. Monarch butterflies seem to find them in my garden, although there are not as many now as there used to be. I like to have refreshment for these beauties if they come, and this year my plants are bright red.
Pentas plants won’t be included in the first selections the garden centers offer. They develop slowly, so look for them in late April or early May. If you are a butterfly lover, remember to seek them out. You won’t be disappointed. - by E. Johnson
To see past Plant of the Month selections click here.