By: Teo Spengler
Gardeners admire pentas plants (Pentas lanceolata) for their bright, generous clusters of star-shaped flowers. They also appreciate the butterflies and hummingbirds that pentas attract to the garden. Do you need to worry about pruning pentas plants? Pentas in frost-free regions are perennials and can grow leggy if left untrimmed. For information about pentas plant pruning, including tips on when to cut back a pentas plant, read on.
About Trimming Pentas Plants
If you live in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 or 11, you can grow pentas as evergreen perennials. But in cooler zones across the country, these shrubs, also called Egyptian star flowers, are grown as annuals.
Pruning pentas plants grown as annuals is not necessary to create a strong branch structure. However, it may help keep the shrub looking its best. One way to accomplish this is to regularly remove some of the blossoms to display indoors in cut flower arrangements. You can cut back two-thirds of the flower stalk when you start trimming pentas for cut flowers.
Deadheading pentas is another way to do pentas plant pruning. Pruning pentas plants by removing the dead flower clusters also encourages new flowers to grow.
How to Prune Pentas Perennials
If pentas are perennials in your region, they can grow taller than you are over time. Perennial pentas plant pruning may be necessary if the shrubs are looking leggy or scraggly. You’ll want to start pruning the plants when a few of the branches are noticeably taller than the rest of the plant, giving the pentas a disheveled look.
Cut the tall stems back at a bud a few inches below the tips of the other branches. No need to waste the cuttings. You can root them and use them as new shrubs.
When to Cut Back a Pentas Plant
If you are wondering when to cut back a pentas plant, it depends on whether you are growing it as an annual or a perennial. Annuals only live for one growing season, so you can trim or shape them whenever you feel it is necessary.
Trimming perennial shrubs to shape can be done at any time. But if you want to renew your pentas plants by doing major pruning, or trimming them to a few inches above the soil to rejuvenate them, wait until after the flowers fade in autumn.
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I have a few pentas and angelomia and they are tall. It's Nov. Is it too late to trim?
Where you live, you should be still ok to prune these plants. Weater has been funny the past few years though, so if you expect you will get a cold snap in the next month or so, hold off until spring.
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How do you prune Pentas plants?
How to Care for a Penta Plant
- Plant pentas in beds that drain well and don't become waterlogged after rain or irrigation.
- Water the pentas when the top 2 to 4 inches of soil begins to dry out.
- Fertilize annual plants monthly during the growing season.
- Spread 2 inches of mulch around the plants each spring.
Subsequently, question is, how long do Pentas last? Pentas will last throughout the year. Pentas lanceolata, commonly known as penta or star flower, is a perennial flower that can grow into a 3 to 4 ft. shrub, lasting years in the garden.
Also question is, how do you keep Pentas blooming?
Grow pentas in a fertile, well-drained soil. Amend the soil before planting with compost and, on poor soils, add a balanced organic fertilizer such as 5-5-5 as well. During the growing season, side dress additional fertilizer every few months to keep the flowers blooming strong.
Pruning is a horticultural and silvicultural practice involving the selective removal of certain parts of a plant, such as branches, buds, or roots. The practice entails targeted removal of diseased, damaged, dead, non-productive, structurally unsound, or otherwise unwanted tissue from crop and landscape plants.
Till the vegetable garden
Though late February weather was very mild, remember that we can still possibly have freezes into March. It’s best not to plant cold sensitive plants until at least mid-March. Once we reach mid-March, though, you need to hurry to plant vegetables such as tomatoes, snap beans, pole beans, lima beans, sweet corn, southern peas, squash, and watermelons.
So, make sure you have the garden tilled, that you’ve done a soil test through the local Extension office, and that you are ready to plant. If you wait around until April to plant, your harvest will be later, and the insect and disease pressure will be greater.
Firebush is native to Florida, blooms for months, and attracts many pollinators. (Photo: Molly Jameson)