BY BONNIE GARCIA

The Butterfly Deep Pink Penta is a Texas superstar that can take our heat and soil, tolerate our humidity and bugs, and is fairly drought tolerant. Another name for this plant is the “Egyptian starflowers.” It’s a native of Africa and Madagascar and here in the Valley, it’s a very low maintenance tropical perennial. This colorful flower does best with full sun and will grow to 24 inches tall and 24 inches wide. From spring to late fall it will give you many large bright pink blooms with white eyes up to 3 inches across which contrast nicely with the quilted looking medium green leaves. The pentas need well-drained soil, will benefit from mulching and can be grown in either containers or in a flower bed. The flowers are highly attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds and are great nectar plants. A single plant may produce 15 to 20 flower clusters at one time which make excellent cut flowers. Pentas can be planted in late spring up to June and ideally planted 12-16 inches apart in a well prepared, raised flower bed. They should be fertilized at planting with a slow release fertilizer. Irrigate to get them established then irrigate once weekly in the absence of significant rainfall. Pentas should be deadheaded and when overgrown, pinched back to encourage continual flowering.

The Plum Parfait SuperSun Coleus is another Texas superstar that is considered a tender perennial here in the Valley. The foliage is what strikes you about this plant – beautiful plum and pink colored foliage all season! The plant blooms from mid-summer through mid-fall; however, the light blue flowers are inconspicuous. The Plum Parfait has tremendous light and heat tolerance for a coleus and is best seen close up. This coleus can be grown in full sun to moderate shade and will get to about 24-36 inches tall and 24 inches wide. The plants should be spaced 18-24 inches apart. This plant needs well-drained soil so plant in a raised bed or container and don’t water too frequently. This coleus attracts bees, butterflies and birds and can be propagated by leaf cuttings, herbaceous stem cuttings or softwood cuttings as plants will not come true from seed.

Warning: Parts of this plant are poisonous if eaten and may cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction when handled.

For more information, see:

aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/

www.lsuagcenter.com

www.naturehills.com/penta-butterfly-deep-pink

www.plant-care.com/penta-pink-i809.html

davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/37835

aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/