by Dr. Dave Bradshaw, Professor, Department of Horticulture, Clemson University
We're here in the Xeriscape Garden at the South Carolina Botanical Garden and we were thinking about if you are trying to decide where to put plants, this little pentas is a good one for it. Being in the Xeriscape Garden they can tolerate quite a wide array of moisture levels. This happens to be a very short, dwarf variety and it's this lovely magenta color I guess. I'm certain it was selected for this location because it doesn't get real large so it's a good plant to put here next to a retainer wall. But the color selection was chosen, I'm certain, because it coordinates well with the spirea in the background. So in choosing your colors and in choosing your plants remember the color and what is going to be blooming around it. Now the pentas, this one, this particular variety is not fragrant but some of the pentas varieties are very fragrant. There's a deep violet-purple one, there's a snow white one, there's a fire engine red one, a light pink one, and this one seems to be one of the newest colors. I haven't seen it in the landscape that much but it does beautifully with the spirea in the background. It just blooms continuously all summer long from the time you put it out as a small transplant, it'll have a little bunch of flowers in the top, and then it just continues to grow and to bloom all summer long. So in planning where you are going to plant, think in terms of the shape, form, texture and color and keep in mind those plants in the background in your color selection.
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