Tropical Shrimp Plant – Colorful Evergreen Shrub
The tropical Shrimp Plant (also known as Justicia brandegeana
Beloperone guttata) is an evergreen perennial shrub with small
elliptical green leaves.
It is distinguished by its inflorescence, a curved display of soft
overlapping pink and yellow bracts that enclose small insignificant
white flowers, blooming continuously from summer to autumn.
grows in clumps of delicate, twiggy stems that
grow up to 3-5 ft (1-1.5 m) tall, and 3 ft (1 m) wide. The branching
stems are tipped by 6 in (15 cm) curving spikes of brick red to golden
green colored bracts.
Each set of bracts encloses a small white flower that lasts for a short
period of time. The velvety, light green leaves are oval in shape and
2-3 in (5-8 cm) long.
The young stems and the undersides of the leaves
are soft and downy.
Depending on the cultivar, bracts can be golden yellow, brick red,
coppery pink, or lime green in color.
Shrimp plants will display the
best color when planted in a bright location that receives direct
the Colorful Shrimp Plant – Basic Growing Tips and Plant Care InformationJusticia brandegeana
gets its common name for the arching shape of the
overlapping bracts that are displayed on the plants all year long.
It is native to Mexico, and can be planted year-round in USDA
Hardiness Zones 8 – 11. If you live in a cold climate, consider
planting this shrub in a container.
This plant can tolerate cool conditions; however, it should be brought
indoors for overwintering before the first frost.
Full to partartial sun. Bright light with some
direct sun is ideal.
Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season to
establish a deep, extensive root system. Keep soil evenly moist from
spring through fall. Allow to stay only slightly drier in winter.
A fertile, well-draining soil is best. If kept in a
container, any high-quality potting soil is sufficient.
Feed with a general purpose fertilizer before new growth begins in
spring. If displayed as a houseplant, feed every 2 weeks year-round
with a high-phosphorus liquid fertilizer diluted by ½ the normal
Start new Shrimp Plants from stem tip cuttings of 4 in (10 cm) in
spring or by simple layering.
Prune annually after flowering for a more compact, formal appearance
and to encourage branching. Keeping the shrubs tip pruned will promote
fullness as well as increase flowering.
Display and Usage
Plant Justicia brandegeana in mixed perennial beds or use as a border
planting. Anywhere you want to display a splash of continuous color
since they bloom almost all year long. In cooler climates, shrimp
plants can be grown in containers and brought indoors for overwintering.
Companion Plants to
In a location with filtered shade, plant near an exotic fern, such as
the Tasmanian Tree Fern (Dicksonia antarctica
) or groundcover Sword
Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata).
Can also be used to cover the unattractive base of tropical foliage
plants, such as Abyssinian Banana (Ensete ventricosum
) or Xanadu
Cut-Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron x 'Xanadu'