How To Overwinter A Penta Plant – Penta Cold Hardiness And Winter Protection

How To Overwinter A Penta Plant – Penta Cold Hardiness And Winter Protection

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By: Tonya Barnett, (Author of FRESHCUTKY)

Tender flowering plants can be beautiful when incorporated into the home landscape. Many tropical plants, such as pentas, are used to create lush flower borders. While these lovely blooms can be grown as a summer annual across a wide range of growing zones, the arrival of the first frost marks the end of their growing season.

Overtime, continuous investment in annual tropical plants can become quite costly. It is only logical that many gardeners are left to ask how to overwinter a penta plant indoors.

How to Overwinter a Penta

When growing any plant, first consider the growing zone of each. Native to tropical regions, pentas will perform best in frost free growing zones. In areas which experience cool winter temperatures, penta cold hardiness can be a major obstacle. For this reason, learning how to overwinter penta plants can help gardeners save their favorite varieties for future planting.

Those overwintering pentas have a few options. Due to its evergreen nature, it is best to move pentas in the winter to a bright window indoors. Moving pentas that have been grown in containers will be easiest. However, it is possible to dig existing plants and transplant them into pots. This should be done late in the growing season, before the first frost in fall.

Winter care for pentas which are full sized can be quite difficult. For this reason, taking and rooting penta cuttings is among the most common overwintering techniques. Rooted cuttings are cared for much in the same manner as mature plants but are much easier to maintain indoors throughout the winter.

Winter Care for Pentas

Overwintering pentas will require some attention to detail regarding moisture, light, and temperature. Since cold hardiness is of special concern, plants will need to be placed in a location in which there is no chance of frost or exposure to cold drafts throughout the winter.

Pentas in the winter will require a south facing window, as ample sunlight will be a necessity. For the best results, make certain that plant soil is not allowed to dry completely.

With minimal care, your plants or cuttings will be ready for planting and reintroduction into the garden when summer finally arrives.

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Will Pentas come back after a freeze?

Penta flowers cannot withstand a hard freeze. This means they need proper care in areas where temperatures drop below freezing to the upper 20 degree to lower 30 degree Fahrenheit range and are unlikely to survive temperatures in the mid-20s F and lower.

Likewise, will Blue Daze come back after freeze? Winter to Spring Growth Habit Blue Daze will start blooming early summer and will last all the way until the first freeze. If your area gets below freezing it will die back for the winter. Start watering it and give it some good spring fertilizer. Before long it will grow right back.

Also to know is, will Impatiens come back after frost?

In the right conditions, impatiens continues to provide an attractive flowering display through the cold months and can be replanted in the garden in spring after the threat of frost has passed.

How cold can Pentas tolerate?

Treating Pentas As Annuals Overwinter pentas by bringing them indoors before the first frost and place them in a south-facing window. Indoor plants need temperatures between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

A Penchant for Pentas

What flower is irresistible to butterflies and hummingbirds?

Pentas are rising stars in more ways than one. Their name means “five” and their five-pointed blooms also explain their common moniker—"star cluster." “Egyptian” sometimes is added to that, as the plants originated in the hot, dry climates of Africa and the Middle East.

Therefore, though perennials in those parts and in USDA zones 10 through 12, they generally are grown as annuals. Where they are hardy, they can reach the 6-foot height of shrubs, but usually won’t surpass 1 to 3 feet elsewhere. Gardeners in zone 9 might be able to overwinter them in flowerbeds there too, as long as they are protected from frosts.

Placing Pentas

Pentas prefer what most blooming plants do: “moist, fertile, well-drained soil in full sun.” But they can star in partial shade also as long as their feet don’t get too wet. Since they are somewhat prone to root rot, well-drained ground is essential in their case. Because a few of my plants suffered from chlorosis one year, I suspect that soil should be mildly acidic as well.

As their species name lanceolata implies, pentas’ foliage is lance-shaped, while the flowers generally appear in shades of red, pink, purple, or white. There even is one variegated type, pictured above, appropriately named ‘Stars and Stripes.’ Although each five-pointed bloom is small—usually less than 1/2-inch across—those flowers band together to form "constellations" about 4 inches in diameter.

I call pentas rising stars because their popularity with butterflies and hummingbirds makes them a must-have these days. According to Tropical Flowering Plants, the blooms are loved by such flutter-bys as Schaus swallowtails, malachites, and zebra broadwings.

Protecting Pentas

Because pentas plants take about three months to bloom from seed, you’ll need to start them early if you want them to perform all summer. I can tell from the date on their photo that the red and white ones pictured in the banner flowered for me in a pot in early November a couple years back. I’m guessing that they hadn’t bloomed yet when frost threatened, so I must have dug them up and placed them under grow lights until they did.

Although you can keep pentas indoors as houseplants over winter, they tend to sulk a bit there. So be careful not to overwater them, and avoid pruning them during that season. Once spring arrives and the plants begin to grow again, both those in pots and those in the ground should be cut back to keep them bushy.

Planting Pentas

When sowing pentas, you may want to purchase pelleted seeds, since they are easier to space. Press them into the surface of damp seed-starting mix without covering them and place their container under a grow light at warm temperatures. Under those conditions, the seedlings often pop up within 4 or 5 days.

Since our weather has become so soggy here, I’ll probably put my pentas in pots or grow-bags this year rather than in the ground. When watering the plants, you’ll want to avoid getting their leaves wet, as that foliage is somewhat susceptible to fungal infections. But, once you try pentas, you’ll thank your lucky stars that you did!

Photos: The banner image is my own. The 'Stars and Stripes' image is by ampy and the final photo by Todd_Boland, both from the Dave's Garden PlantFiles.

Overwintering Pentas

Do you have a plant in the yard that is just beautiful but will die when the frost and snow come? I have 2 Pentas plant, Google it, they are pretty! Hummingbirds love them.

Last fall, I dug them out, went to the Goodwill and bought 2 large containers, drilled drainage holes and put a big saucer underneath. I used a grow light all winter. They bloomed all winter!

In the spring, I just took the containers outside, the plants stayed in bloom all season, and grew! Now when fall comes, I just need to transport them back into the house. Now I have no broken heart over them dying, and saved $ from not replacing!

Add your voice! Click below to comment. ThriftyFun is powered by your wisdom!

I've never heard of pentas. I do try to attract hummingbirds so I will definitely google this. Thanks for the info.

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Overwintering Outdoors

Depending on where you live, it may be necessary to provide added protection for your pots. Here are several options for overwintering containers:

  • Group several pots together on soil and close to the house or wall. Place the cold-hardiest plants on the outskirts of the grouping with the less hardy plants in the center. Put straw bales on the periphery. Putting them together increases the mass and volume of insulation and protects them from cold, harsh winds that cause desiccation and freezing.
  • For added insulation, mulch pots with straw, mulch or shredded leaves. Snow also acts as a good insulator. An interesting idea for insulating containers would be group pots together in a preformed pond liner and fill the liner with mulch.
  • Because a majority of roots tend to be on the outside of the rootball, the only insulation for roots is the wall of the pot itself. Prior to planting, insert foam at least one inch thick around the walls of square pots to insulate roots. For rounded pots, line the container's interior walls with foam peanuts.
  • Remove the rootball from the container and plant in the ground. Clean the container and store indoors. Dig up the root ball next season and repot into the same or a larger container.
  • Wrap pots in burlap, bubble wrap, old blankets or geotextile blankets. It isn't necessary to wrap the entire plant because it's the roots that need shielding. These protective coverings will help to trap heat and keep it at the root zone.
  • If low temperatures loom, cover plants with cloth, burlap or plastic at night. If you use plastic, be sure to remove the covering during the day since temperatures can heat up, causing premature bud growth. Also, when covering, avoid damaging the top part of the plants. Injury sets up the plant for cold and pest damage.
  • Insert your pot into a larger pot for added protection. This will work best if the larger pot has thick walls or added insulation.

For USDA Zones 7 through 11, hard freezes may be infrequent to nonexistent, so adding insulation or bringing pots in for the winter may not be necessary. However, there are some chores that you should still be aware of. Due to cooler temperatures in the winter, plant growth will slow and watering may become infrequent. However, salt can build up in the soil, raising levels to toxicity. Water well to leach out the salts. Also, fertilize plants as needed.

Watch the video: Summer Annual Flowers. Green Thumb


  1. Abell

    Well done, what a phrase ..., the brilliant idea

  2. Odhran

    At all I do not know, as to tell

  3. Cormic

    It's just incomparable :)

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