Tampa Homebody

Shrimp Plant – Justicia brandegeeana

– Posted in: Fall Season, Gardening
Flowering Shrubs | Shrimp Plant

I recently posted a picture of our glorious Shrimp Plant on Facebook.  I received so many emails and messages from people that had never heard of this shrub before; hence, I decided to write a short post about it.  Native to Mexico, it has proven to be a naturalized low-maintenance shrub right here in Florida.  They are recommended for USDA Zones 9, 10, and 11.

The leaves of the Shrimp Plant are oval-shaped and green.  The shrub’s common name (Shrimp Plant or Shrimp Flower) is based on the plant’s white flowers, which extend from red-colored bracts.  Put simply, they look like a shrimp!

Our Shrimp Plants seem to like where they are planted.  They get morning sun; however, they get shade starting right about high noon and thereafter.  They seem to flourish in shade or a semi-shade environment.  Our soil is somewhat sandy, and these conditions are ideal as long as the soil can drain well.

During the summer months, the Shrimp Plant requires a lot of water.  They are prone to leaf drop if left in a dry state.  The amount of water it needs will decrease with the cooler weather; however, in the high-temperature heat of summer … you will need to water it on a regular basis.

In terms of shape, the Shrimp Plant is somewhat spindly.  If you were to leave it alone, without any trimming, it would become messy looking.  The branches can grow long and will fall over if not maintained.  Therefore, we trim ours a few times throughout the year in order to maintain a nice-looking bushy shrub.

Another nice attribute about the Shrimp Plant is that they are relatively easy to propagate from stem-tip cuttings.  Simple take a cutting, dip it into a rooting hormone, and then place it in a pot of rooting mix or seedling soil.  It’s that easy!

Prepare for this shrub to be a conversation starter, as most people have never seen one. Hummingbirds and butterflies will flock to them with glee.  They bring so much color to the summer garden, and will prove to be a pleasure for you, your visitors, and Mother Nature. When the summer season begs you to go outside, you will be glad to see these by your side.

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