Butterflies adore the lovely Pentas lanceolata and seem to prefer it above most other bloomers planted with intentions of attracting them. This evergreen doesn’t care much for freezing weather, but grows happily and blooms like crazy in the warmer regions of North America. Sometimes called starflower or Egyptian starcluster, pentas bloom prolifically all season long. While they can be produced by seed, it takes at least 16 weeks for healthy plants to grow. It’s much faster and easier to make softwood cuttings from existing pentas from May through July, because they’ll readily propagate very quickly for you.
Things You'll Need
- Paper towels
- Clean, sharp knife
- Plastic bags
- Powdered rooting hormone
Choose an attractive, healthy mature pentas plant to take your stem cuttings from. These little twigs will grow into exact replicas of the parent plant, so pick one that you really like.
Look for unblemished, leafy young stem tips that are just beginning to harden. Softwood cuttings will snap easily if you bend them at their centers. Do this early in the morning while the plant has a higher water content in its tissues than it will have at any other time of the day.
Use a clean, sharp knife to cut a 4 to 6 inch long stem tip from the pentas.
Wrap the cutting in a paper towel moistened well with water right away and keep it cool. The faster you can get your cutting planted, the better your chances will be of successfully rooting it.
Strip the foliage from the lower half of the pentas cutting. Dip the bottom inch of the cut stem in water and roll it in powdered rooting hormone, if you’re ready to plant. Otherwise store the cuttings in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for several hours if you can’t get them planted immediately.