Tropical Shrimp Plant – Colorful Evergreen Shrub

The tropical Shrimp Plant (also known as Justicia brandegeana and 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.

Justicia brandegeana 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 shortShrimp Plant 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 sunlight.

Growing the Colorful Shrimp Plant – Basic Growing Tips and Plant Care Information

Justicia 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 strength.


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 Consider:

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').

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