Where to locate tall pentas seed? Especially 'Longwood Pink'...

kr222(6b)January 11, 2011

I live near Longwood Gardens in PA. While visiting one summer, they had tall (~3-4'), pink pentas that were swarming in butterflies. I checked their site recently and saw that it was called, "Longwood Pink". I contacted the Horticultural department, and they said they don't sell seed but to search online.

Does anyone know where I can purchase this variety of seed OR any other variety of tall pentas? I can't even find tall pentas plants. I've been searching online for days with no luck. I've grown some newer dwarf varieties, but butterflies ignore them. I can't find older varieties listed anywhere. I'm most interested in pink and red pentas.



Here is a link that might be useful: My Garden

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5


snowing like crazy out there.. got the kids home from school.. dreading a snow day tomorrow.. as i just got them back to school from xmas.. lol ...

anyway.. nothing better to do.. so i searched for you

no luck on longwood specifically..

link to glasshouseworks... go figure they list it under tropical ...

and they offer a couple ...

burpee, park [low ones], seedman.com, www.harrisseeds.com [the northern lights looks pretty close]:


anyway.. time to finish making dinner ...

what i ended up doing .. was using FLOWER SEED SELLERS in google ... and then going to each site and using the search therein for PENTAS ... and i only made it thru page one...

good luck


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 5:28PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Hazzard wholesale seed has over 20 pentas available, none listed with the Longwood name, but worth looking through. Al

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 9:31AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Kim, have you ever grown pentas from seed before? It's one of the slowest darned things I've ever grown! lol Hopefully, you can start the seeds inside pretty soon so that you'll have some flowers this spring and summer.

Pentas, by the way, are really tender perennials that we tend to treat AS annuals. If you manage to locate the seeds or plants of the species that you want, it might be possible for you to dig them up and over winter them. I've grown some in pots (the shorter ones) that I kept going for three or so years. Just a thought.

I wish I could remember which hybrid it was, because those plants were covered up in butterflies and every other nectar sipping insect for months.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 9:53AM
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Greetings from Lancaster County Kim,
"Longwood Pink" isn't a commercially available variety. As you can tell from your searches, there aren't too many tall Pentas on the market, because the breeders have concentrated on producing plants that are short, for bedding plant use. The tallest "pink" I'm familiar with is Kaleidoscope Appleblossom or Kaleidoscope Pink, that max out at 18". There are taller genetics out there, but they are not propagated from seed (grown from cuttings)

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 12:32PM
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lady_alicia Zone 5/6 PA(5)

Hi Kim. I'm in PA too; towards Pittsburgh. :)

Like Ken, I also saw the Northern Lights Lavender tall Pentas reaching 19" tall which looks similar to the Longwood Pink variety, just not as tall as you really want. Maybe try that one if you can't locate the one you really want. Maybe the Longwood Pink is a newer variety; therefore, it's not offered yet. ?? Or maybe they bred that particular species themselves??


You could also try going over to the seed exchange and request if anyone has seeds for it or any tall variety. Can't hurt, and people there are very giving. Will usually give seeds as long as you send an SASBE. I exchange seeds all the time and have gotten some really nice things, even upon request. You can check out the Rate & Review section to make sure they're honest if you're concerned about that. I've been trading for years and have not had anyone keep my stamps and not send anything. :)

Like Ken, we have tons of snow here and it is, in fact, a snow day here with all the kiddos home. Just figured I'd try and help you out a little. You have spiked my interest now in the Pentas! They're beautiful. And I love the ideas of it atttracting the butterflies. :) I don't have a ton of growing space, so I have to watch what all I plant. But I just might try those Pentas now.

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Flower Pics

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 12:42PM
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I've grown dwarf pentas from seed. They are slow to start, but once they put on a little size they do very well. Unfortunately the variety I tried (Butterfly Mix) was virtually ignored by butterflies. Not worth the space in my garden. I'll keep looking around to see what I can find.

Has anyone grown Northern Lights Lavender....or any other variety that butterflies really seem to enjoy?


    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 12:46PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

BTW .... some reference listed the longwood plant at only 18 inches ...

God knows what longwood did to them to make them taller ...

i also seem to have seen some references to difficulty in growing them...


    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 12:55PM
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I've started pentas from seed before. They took longer to germinate than expected, but I had a lot of success by sowing the seed on top of a moist seed starter mix since they need light to germinate. I placed them under grow lights with the soil covered in plastic wrap...to keep it from drying out. I removed the plastic once the seeds germinated so I wouldn't have to worry about damping off.

I think I only found one or two sites that mention Longwood Pink, but no retailers or seed sources were listed. I wonder if LP is the same as Northern Lights Lavender??? The ones at Longwood were definitely much taller than 18" though...

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 8:58AM
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Below is the only reference I found to the Longwood Pink.

Here is a link that might be useful: Longwood Pink

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 9:38AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Uhoh. Your mention of the 'Butterfly' hybrids reminded me that that is exactly what I planted. They turned out to be a real favorite for my neighborhood flutterbies.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 1:57PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Using the link provided I was surprised to see the growth rate as fast. Growing from seed they would never be described as fast. I have grown them from plugs and would say the growth rate was about medium. From seed mine take 8 to 10 weeks to get an inch high, from there on I would say the growth was normal. I would buy them in plugs if I did not have to buy so many. Al

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 9:15AM
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Maryl zone 7a

In the distant past when I did such things, I have taken cuttings of Pentas and had them survive and then thrive the next year. If you ever get a Penta you like, try doing cuttings. With my rather less then ideal nuturing operation for the cuttings, I still got about a 40% return rate....Maryl

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 8:31PM
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You would have to get a plant and not seeds, but you may want to be on the lookout for Pentas lanceolata 'Stars and Stripes.' It's a variegated selection of the old-fashioned red pentas. There are several places that sell it in the spring via mail order but it has started to become available in local nurseries around here and hopefully near you too. It is really beautiful and the hummingbirds and, especially, the butterflies are crazy about it.

A few years ago, I went to small local nursery in south Georgia and got red and hot pink old-fashioned tall pentas that are perennial in that area. I really wish I had saved cuttings from those because they are impossible to find anywhere else it seems.

Good Luck & Happy Gardening!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 12:29AM
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bugbite(z9a FL)

So many pentas are propagated by cuttings.
Ask Longwood Gardens where they got the plants. Get a plant and take cuttings.
Also before you buy seed, on a search engine type in "pentas trials" or similar. You can get good performance info that way, particularly if a trial is in your area. If you search you may land on one variety or color. Check the main list; often they trial several pentas if they do a penta trial. Some of the pentas that are readily available from seed turns out not to be great trial performers. The biggest issue is lack of uniformity between plants. On your search results you may have to click several pages before you see all trials. Example link below. UGA is always good as well as UoF and the Dallas trials and many others.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cornell

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 9:41AM
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I have a dwarf Pentas Lanceolata that Im trying cuttings from. They have formed what looks like a heel like a rose cutting might do but other than that I dont know what to look for in the cutting process. I have mine under lights and covered with humidity.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 11:12PM
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