Shrimp plants, also known as Justicia brandegeeana, (sometimes spelled as Justicia brandegeana) have become more common in some gardens in the South and parts of the West Coast. But how much do you really know about this evergreen shrub? Let's learn more about this semi-tropical plant and how to best care for shrimp plants year-round.
What is a Shrimp Plant?
This Mexican shrimp plant is a native of Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, according to Gardening Know How. The plant grows in clumps in USDA plant hardiness zones 8-11, making it an excellent choice for Florida gardens. It is also sometimes called a false hop, according to Wikipedia.
These plants are fairly short, with limited new growth, but enjoy easy propagation from stem-tip cuttings. Shrimp plants have green leaves and white flowers that come out from tubular red bracts that look quite a lot like shrimp, hence the name. Some varieties of shrimp plants will produce yellow bracts, and are referred to by the common name golden shrimp plants.
Justicia Brandegeana Plant Care
Shrimp plants are pretty easy to care for. They are simple to grow and don't require a master gardener to take care of them!
They love warm temperatures and will thrive in high humidity in the summer months. They are fairly drought tolerant and like full sun to light shade or partial shade, with morning sun being their ideal light preference.
These plants can even do well as a houseplant with potting soil that is suited to them and will be happy hanging out in a sunny window where they will continue to bloom all winter.
Shrimp plants do, however, need to be trimmed, so if you're not interested in having to go through and prune your garden regularly, these may not be for you. They also like well-drained, sandy soil, and don't like having wet feet.
Another slight drawback of these flowers is that they can sometimes attract spider mites and whiteflies, as well as nematodes. Watch out for root rot and fungal leaf spotting or rust, too.
If you're willing to deal with all of that, these showy plants are definitely worth your time and attention. Plant one in your garden and watch the hummingbirds come to admire it in no time!