Pentas: growing at home

Table of contents:

Pentas: growing at home
Pentas: growing at home

Description of pentasa, advice on growing, choosing soil and dressing, independent breeding of pentasa, possible difficulties in home cultivation, species. Pentas (Pentas) - the plant belongs to the family of Madder (Rubiaceae), which has about 50 species of its representatives. The native habitat of growth is tropical, humid and warm forests in Africa and the island territories of Madagascar. Sometimes in the literature you can find a pentas called "Egyptian star".

The life of the plant stretches over several years, and is a herbaceous form or shrub that does not lose the color of its leaves, regardless of the change of the season. If the plant is grown outdoors in flower beds, then it is used as an annual. In a natural environment, the trunk can reach up to 2 m in height. Shoots can grow straight up or spread along the ground. The sheet plates are in the form of an ellipse or elongated knives located opposite each other.

In an apartment or office, only one species (Pentas lanceolate) is grown. Pentas lanceolate (herbaceous), a hybrid plant that was bred specifically to reduce its natural size. It reaches a height of just over half a meter, in some cases up to 80 cm. The plant requires special pruning, in addition to removing old branches. Since their growth is artificially slowed down, and they do not retain their original appearance for a long time. Already on the basis of this variety, more and more new ones with the most bizarre colors began to be displayed.

The flowering process seems to be quite long - such an impression is given by the waves of opening flowers, when the first blossoming buds have not yet wilted, then the flowers of the next wave begin to open. The process stretches from spring to autumn days. Shades of flowers are quite varied - from white to lilac. From flowers, inflorescences are collected, which are in the form of umbrellas (domes) or they are shield-like. The shape of the flowers is tubular and the opening of 5 wide petals at the very top of the bud looks like a star, giving the impression of a continuation of the flower. In opening, the flower reaches 10 cm in diameter. The flowering plant looks quite decorative, since the blossoming buds of various flowers are located above the emerald-colored foliage and form a kind of lively bouquet.

Its native habitat is the African tropics. The plant can take both herbaceous and bushy forms. The leaf plates never change their color; they remain in a light emerald hue. The base of the stems becomes lignified over time. This type of pentas can grow up to half a meter in height. The leaves are opposite each other, have an elongated lanceolate shape and measure 5-7 cm in length. The umbrella inflorescence can be up to 10 cm in diameter. The flowers begin in tubules and then divide into 5 petals, which fold back to create a star-shaped shape. The color of the buds can be white, pinkish, bright red or lilac - it depends on the type of pentasa. Flowering extends from spring to autumn months.

Recommendations for the cultivation of pentas

Tips for growing pentas
Tips for growing pentas
  • Lighting. Pentas is very fond of bright lighting, but only at lunchtime it needs to be slightly shaded with translucent curtains, gauze draperies or stick paper on glass. Therefore, a pot with a plant, you can not be afraid to place it on the windows of the southern exposure, the window sills of the south-west and south-east direction are also suitable. But it is necessary to accustom pentas to bright light gradually - this should be done immediately after purchase or after a rather long cloudy period. In the spring and summer months, it is recommended to expose the plant to fresh air, in a place with bright lighting. Pentas is completely indifferent to drafts and loves clean air, therefore, if there is no way to put a flower pot on a balcony or veranda (track), then it is necessary to regularly ventilate the room. For the autumn-spring season, the plant will have to arrange supplementary lighting with special phytolamps.
  • Content temperature. With the arrival of the warm season, the pentas prefers moderate thermometer readings - 20-25 degrees, during the autumn-winter period the temperature should not fall below 10 degrees, but 16 degrees of heat are considered acceptable - the conditions for a cool wintering of the plant. If such conditions are not maintained, that is, the temperatures will be higher, then the pentas will react by drying out the leaf plates, and the shoots will be ugly naked and stretched. The same can happen at too high summer temperatures, then the shoots begin to lose their stability.
  • Recommended air humidity. Pentas is very sensitive to the amount of moisture in the air, its indicators should be at the level of 60%. To maintain these indicators, it is necessary to regularly spray the plant with soft water. You will have to make sure that moisture does not get on the flower petals. To increase the humidity, you can set the pot with the plant on moistened expanded clay or pebbles in a deep pan, the bottom of the pot should not touch the water. Sometimes vessels with water are placed next to the plant.
  • Watering. For irrigation, it is best to use soft water, it is obtained by filtration, settling or boiling. In order for the plant to delight in summer flowering, it is necessary with the arrival of spring heat to begin to abundantly moisturize the soil in the pot. The water temperature should vary between 20-23 degrees. As soon as the soil in the pot on top becomes dry, it should be moistened. When wintering time comes, watering is reduced quite strongly and is carried out only when a couple of days have passed since the drying of the upper layer of the earth. It is necessary to ensure that the ground is not too flooded with water, as this will contribute to the decay of the root system of the pentas, which is especially harmful during periods of low temperatures, this can also lead to all kinds of diseases. Watering is required carefully so that the flowers are not watered with water, from this they will turn brown and lose their beauty.
  • The choice of fertilizers for the pentas. Top dressing must be chosen with a complex of minerals for flowering houseplants, those in which nitrogen predominates in the composition. Fertilization of the plant is carried out during the period of its vegetative activity (spring-summer) with a half-month regularity. During winter dormancy, fertilizers are not applied to the soil.
  • Trimming the pentas. The plant tends to stretch its shoots ugly with age, so it is best to cut them off regularly so that they do not exceed 40 cm in length from the base. The shape of the bush will be more fluffy if the tops of the stems are pinched in the spring - this must be done before the buds of the plant become noticeable. The pruning procedure must be carried out during those periods when the plant has ceased to bloom. But, and this cannot guarantee the preservation of the decorative effect of the bush, therefore, experienced growers recommend simply updating the pentas by growing it again.
  • Soil and replanting tips. The growth of the pentas is quite fast, therefore, for young plants, the pot and substrate are changed annually, and for adults this procedure is performed every two years. When choosing a pot, they try to choose a new container with a larger diameter. But as soon as an adult plant is transplanted into a pot with a diameter of 20 cm, then later it is recommended to simply change the topsoil, without transplanting. Some growers use old pots when transplanting, in this case, you will have to cut a little roots from the bush. In the bottom of the pot, it is necessary to make holes for the drain of excess water and pour fine expanded clay (pebbles) or finely crushed brick into it.

Pentas is very sensitive to the composition of the soil, it can hardly tolerate the presence of a variety of salts that may be in the substrate. The soil is chosen sufficiently nutritious, light and loose so that water and air can easily pass through it. You can use purchased land for ornamental and flowering indoor plants, it is important that the soil is acidic, pH 5.5–6.5. The soil mixture can be independently compiled based on the following components:

  • leafy land, sod land, river coarse sand (proportions 2: 2: 1, respectively);
  • leafy land, sod land, peat land, humus, river coarse sand (all taken in equal parts).

Self-breeding pentas at home

Pentas stalk
Pentas stalk

The plant grows by itself for several years, but over time it takes on ugly forms and the bush decays. Therefore, it is simply necessary to rejuvenate pentas after several years of development. For this, cuttings or seeds are used.

With the help of seeds, pentas can be propagated all year round, regardless of the season outside. Seed material is sown on the surface of the prepared moistened substrate, and does not sink into it. The container with seedlings must be installed in a well-lightened place, shading from the midday rays of the sun. Germination will be successful after 2-3 weeks, if temperature indicators of 23-26 degrees are observed for this. When the steams are strong enough, you can thin out the seedlings, leaving stronger specimens. At the same time, temperature indicators drop slightly to 18-23 degrees. When 4 to 6 weeks have passed, young pentasa plants are recommended to be transplanted into separate pots with diameters of no more than 11 cm. The substrate for seeds and seedlings is the same as for adult plants. To see the pentas bloom by the end of spring, seeds are sown at the beginning of winter.

If the plants are supposed to be grown in open ground, then it is necessary to plant seedlings in the soil of the flower bed when the night temperatures begin to show a stable 7 degrees. Otherwise, in cool and rainy weather, the pentas will not be able to grow normally and its decorative qualities will be significantly affected. For propagation using cuttings, edged material is used, you can choose cut branches at least 10 cm in length, having 3 nodes each. For the rooting of cuttings, conditions are created for mini-greenhouses with constant temperature indicators in the range of 16-18 degrees. Rooting occurs quite quickly, after 10 days, cuttings can be transplanted into separate pots with a diameter of at least 7 cm, with a substrate made up of leafy, turfy land and sand, taken in equal parts. The transplanted cuttings are watered very abundantly, as soon as all the soil that was provided to the young plant is braided with roots, then the pot is changed to a larger one (approximate diameter 9 cm). As soon as the pentas reaches the age of one year, the pot is again changed to a new one with a 12 cm diameter and the substrate is used the same as for adult plants.

Harmful insects and difficulties in growing pentas

Aphid infested pentas
Aphid infested pentas

This plant can be most affected by spider mites, aphids, scale insects or whiteflies. When a spider mite is affected, small whitish specks appear on the back of the leaf plates, and a light cobweb becomes visible on many of the leaves, they turn yellow or turn white. Aphids manifest themselves as a sticky bloom on the leaves and are clearly visible on the plant, can be green or brown, the leaves and buds themselves can quickly wither and deform. When the scabbard is damaged, the leaf plates of the pentas are covered with honeydew - a transparent sticky liquid, due to which the plant can be affected by a sooty fungus, and brownish convex specks are also visible on the back of the leaf. Whitefly is clearly visible on the plant - white microscopic midges that fly up when they touch shoots or leaves. Also, on the outside of the leaf plates, whitish specks are clearly visible. In case of damage by these pests, it is necessary to immediately apply modern insecticidal agents.

Of the problems associated with caring for the pentas, the following can be distinguished:

  • stretching shoots characterizes a lack of lighting;
  • yellowing of leaf plates is accompanied by drying of the soil in a pot or a lack of nitrogenous inclusions in top dressing and soil;
  • veins on the leaf become visible, and the leaf acquires a light color - a lack of iron in the soil, chlorosis has begun;
  • when the soil is flooded with water at low temperatures, the leaves turn yellow and may fall off.

For more information on pentas, see this video: