Shrimp plant is a bushy evergreen shrub in the genus Justicia of the family Acanthaceae. It is also renowned as Justicia brandegeeana, Mexican shrimp plant, or false hop, which is native to Mexico and naturalized in Florida. It grows to 1000 cm (39 inches) tall by 60 to 90 cm (24 to 35 inch) broad with spindly limbs. The plant consists of oval, green leaves that are 3 to 7.5 cm long and white flowers extending from red bracts, which look a bit like a shrimp.
The stems and leaves are downy that usually grow in clusters on the branches. Along with this, the amount of creamy white on the variegated leaves will increase as the plant receives more sun, and vice versa. The flowers grow from the bracts which form off the stems. The more sun exposure turns the bracts to deep salmon from pale pink; otherwise, the original color of the bract is white. The flowers are so beautiful that they attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Generally, the flowers bloom continuously for a month once they began, then stop for a short period before they start again.
Where does the plant grow
The shrimp plant grows in many clumps and USDA plant hardiness zones 8-11, but it has now naturalized in many areas due to the ease of shrimp propagation. Because the stems, which tend to become leggy with age and the sparse oval, green leaves, sometimes speckled with white, are not particularly attractive, but the bracts, which hold tiny and insignificant white flowers, definitely eye-catchy. Therefore, if you live in zone 8-11, you can grow this plant, as it can be a welcome addition to your landscape. They are easy to grow and will flourish in the warm temperatures of the south. Once you become able to establish them, they will even survive the occasional hard frost.
How to grow a Shrimp Plant and take care
You can grow and care shrimp plant if you carefully consider the following points:
You can propagate the shrimp plants from seeds, stems, and cuttings. The best method for outdoor plantings is a division of clumps, whereas the most comfortable way of shrimp plant propagation is cuttings. You should trim only those of your plants whose cuttings have at least four sets of leaves. First, dig the fresh cut ends in rooting hormone. Poke them into the soil, and then keep the soil consistently moist. In about six to eight weeks, it will develop roots.
Soil and fertilizer
Shrimp plants prefer to grow in well-draining potting soil. If they receive an excellent potting soil and an occasional dose of fertilizer, they will bloom all winter.
Potting and re-potting
You need to require a pot of appropriately small size. As and when the plant grows, you can re-pot them according to the size of the plant.
You need to avail bright light but indirect sunlight. It flourishes in the shade in tropical areas.
It grows well at Summer temperature about 65-75 degree and winter temperature about 55-65 degrees F. It hates temperature below 45 degrees F.
Water the plants 1-2 times a week in summer and lessen the amount of water in winter. Do not let the plants to dry out completely.
Feed the plant with liquid plant foods throughout the year. The volume of feeding the plant is lesser in winter.
Remove the old dead flowers and leaves from the surface of the plant. This makes the plant look attractive.
Pests and problems
If the plants started having pale leaves, then it means the plant is hungry. Feed the plant slowly to solve the problem. Likewise, if the leaves started yellowing, then it shows the sign of over-watering. So treat with approved miticide spray and keep the humidity up.