Care Requirements For Shrimp Plant

The shrimp plant Justicia brandegeana earned its well deserved name from its normally arching, bronze-coppery flowerheads.
It can display masses of blooms all year and is easy to grow. Shrimp plant belongs to the genus Justicia and an evergreen shrub of the family Acanthaceae.
I always love to see “common plants” displayed and grown in unusual ways.
The image above is a shrimp variety from Hort Couture’s St. Lucia Tropical Island Package grown as a tree or topiary form.
Shrimp plant have many varieties such as: red shrimp plant, white shrimp plant, golden shrimp plant, purple shrimp plant, blue shrimp plant and orange shrimp plant.
Sometimes, they call golden shrimp plant as yellow shrimp plant or lollipop plant with botanical name of Pachystachys Lutea. Although these varieties belongs to same family – Justica, they can’t grow in same hardiness zone.
This provides a whole new look and use to this year round blooms out on a deck or patio and hummingbirds love them.
Here’s a quick rundown on a Shrimp Plants cultural needs.

Size and Growth Rate

Normally this plant grows low, compact size about 12 inches will encourage flowering. When grown in a tree form, keep the head tight for flowering.

Flowering and Fragrance

Grown for its decorative flower heads which resemble shrimp with green leaves. Flowers are white and tongue-shaped with no fragrance, last a short time, replaced with new flowers.
Related Reading: Justicia brandegeana relative the Crossandra plant (Crossandra infundibuliformis)

Light and Temperature

Needs a lot of light, preferably not direct sunlight indoors. Frown outdoors in summer, they can handle sun or shade. Prefer fresh air,not too much summer heat – 65 – 75 degrees and winter temperatures 55 – 65 degrees.

Watering and Feeding

The Shrimp Plant needs well-drained soil, outdoors in summer, water 1-2 times a week. In winter, keep the soil damp – never let the flowering plants dry out completely.

Water with a solution of liquid plant food throughout the warmer months. If the plant flowers during the winter months, cut the amount of feed in half – or completely make cuttings.

Soil and Transplanting

Grows best in well-draining potting soil. Repot yearly or give the plant new top soil each spring.  To produce more plants, cut three-inch long cuttings from the tip of the stems.

Plant Problems and Pest

  • Pale leaves usually needs plant food. If hungry… feed plant slowly at first
  • Pale drab flowers lose coloring turning dull yellow, often means plant needs more light
  • Flower bracts heads blacken, did flower heads get wet during watering or rain – Remove flower head
  • Leaves yellowing… sign of over-watering. If soil is dry, look for red spider mites on undersides of leaves. If found, treat with approved miticide (see read and follow label) spray, keep humidity up.
  • Straggly growth, too much heat, not enough light. Move plant to cooler, brighter location.

Video on Pruning Shrimp Plants

Watch out she takes them down to the ground!

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Image: photo source

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