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Egyptian stars

Pentas lanceolata

With its green foliage and beautiful, showy flowers, the Egyptian stars brings vibrancy and life to your garden; not only through its bright presence but also by attracting butterflies and hummingbirds, amongst other wild life. Plant it as a bedding plant, ground-cover, slope and erosion control and enjoy their rich jewel tones and the atmosphere they create. Good for privacy, they are also widely used in traditional medicine across Africa.

Planning

Difficulty
Easy
Flowering time
Spring, Summer, Autumn
Fruiting time
Autumn

Harvesting

To harvest seeds, allow seed-heads to dry on the plant; remove and collect seeds. Seed does not store well, sow as soon as possible. Pick flowers and leaves as needed.

Propagation

Seed
Sow seed indoors (before the last frost) or outside in Spring. Do not cover the small seeds with soil as they need light to germinate. Place plastic cover over the cultivation trays.
Cuttings
Take softwood cuttings in spring from terminal wood and dip the ends into a rooting hormone. Push the cut stem into a well-draining medium, such as sand, that has been pre-moistened.
Layering
Tie moss and then glad wrap over eyes that will form new roots. Remove the stem with new roots and replant.

Special features

Attracts useful insects
Insects such as bees and butterflies.
Attracts birds
Birds are attracted to the nectar rich flowers.
Pot plant
Grows well in containers due to slow growth, needs sufficient drainage.
Indoor plant
Also may be effectively gown indoors under artificial lights.
Drought resistant
Generally drought resilient once well-established.
Hedge plant
Make an informal lower hedge screen.

Geography

Origin
Africa and Yemen
Natural climate
Subtropical

Environment

Light
Full Sun
Soil moisture
Moist
Soil type
Loam
Soil PH preference
Acid
Frost hardiness
Tender

Uses

Medicinal
Traditionally used to treat lymphadenitis, diarrhoea, snake bite, malaria and ascariasis.

Personality

Family
Rubiaceae
Flower colour
Pink, white or red.
Scent
Mild

Problems

Pests include spider mites, whiteflies and aphids. Generally disease free.

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