With attractive bracts that grab your attention, as well as being incredibly easy to grow, the shrimp plants is quite literally a perfect houseplant, patio plant, and garden companion. If you’re keen to add one to your garden or grow one indoors, then here’s everything you need to know to help it thrive.
What Is A Shrimp Plant?
The shrimp plant, also known as Justicia brandegeeana, Mexican shrimp plant and shrimp bush, is a perennial plant that belongs to the Acanthaceae family. It is a true tropical plant, through and through. It is native to warm areas, namely Mexico and Central America and is famed for its striking inflorescence, which are the very long spikes that are covered in bracts that look like tiny shrimps. It is popular with butterflies when planted out in the garden, as well as being a magnet for hummingbirds.
How To Grow Shrimp Plant
When it comes to cultivating the shrimp plant, you’ll need to keep in mind that it requires full sun to partial shade and will do best in well-drained soil with average to moderate moisture. It is very tolerant of heat and humidity, but it should be protected from any kind of frost. Regular pruning will help your shrimp plant keep its attractive shape, so trimming off any overly long and spindly stems will do it the world of good.
You can grow a shrimp plant from a cutting (even using part of the pruned stems). A stem-tip cutting will usually transplant and root best. Once you’ve made your stem-tip cutting, you’ll need to invest in rooting hormones before putting it into a pot with soil, or a specific seedling soil mixture and watering it well. Alternatively, you can look to use a natural rooting hormone you likely have in your cupboard, such as apple cider vinegar diluted in water.
During the growing season, in order to help your shrimp plant thrive, it should be fertilised every four weeks with a balanced fertiliser – ideally one which is water soluble.
When To Plant Shrimp Plant
When it comes to planting your shrimp plant you’ll be happy to know that it can be planted at any time of the year. This makes it fairly easy to decide to get one, purchase it from a garden centre, and bring it home and plant it.
For those who want to give it the best start, bear in mind that the ideal months to plant it would be during the spring or summer months, while it is busy actively growing and will have the best chance to root properly. The ideal location for this plant is one that receives full sun to partial shade, as it will help the plant thrive.
The ideal time to plant your shrimp plant is during the spring or summer when it is actively growing. A location that receives full sun to partial shade is perfect as it’s where your plant will truly thrive. Shrimp plants can also be grown as a houseplant or included in a greenhouse or a conservatory. In warm climates, it will do well when planted out in the garden, provided you can create humidity for it.
Where To Plant Shrimp Plant
When choosing where to plant your shrimp plant, those in the northern hemisphere will do well to plant it in a container filled with well-drained soil or in a greenhouse where you can control its temperature. Those in warmer climes or the southern hemisphere can seek out a suitable in-ground location before you direct plant it, should you not wish to plant it indoors.
When planting in a container, it is vital that you ensure you use well-draining potting soil as the shrimp plant is susceptible to root rot if it is over-watered and the roots sit in the waterlogged soil for too long.
If you choose to plant your shrimp plant in the ground, ensure the soil will drain well, and that it is not placed in an area which receives too much rainfall or any kind of flooding.
How To Plant Shrimp Plant
In order to plant your shrimp plant, it should ideally be planted in a container filled with well-drained soil. It can be set in a sunny window inside your home, or you could set out on a patio, conservatory, or deck.
You’ll need to select the right soil mix for your shrimp plant or create your own ideal mix by using perlite, vermiculite or even peat moss in a traditional potting mix. Ensure that the shrimp plant roots are well formed on your shrimp plant cutting, to ensure it will take well to its new home. Direct light for several hours a day will assist your shrimp plant in acclimating, though it will withstand partial shade provided it receives enough morning sun.
If you plant your shrimp correctly, you’ll be rewarded by its growing inflorescence, the long spike that is crowded with small bracts that resemble shrimps. The colours for this will range from pinks and peaches to corals and even orange.
While many people mistake the bracts for flowers, this is incorrect. The shrimp plant’s real flowers are usually white and very tiny, and are more often than not hidden by the more showy and large bracts of the plant. It must be noted that the inflorescence of the shrimp plant will continue to grow and often will reach a length of about 30 cm. This inflorescence will keep the bracts in place for months at a time, making it a stunning feature plant both indoors and out.
What Is The Meaning Of A Shrimp Plant?
Shrimp plants are known as Justicia brandegeeana. This comes from the name of a horticulturist, as well as the botanist who discovered it. The Justicia is for James Justice, a Scottish horticulturist, and the brandegeeana was included after botanist Townshend Stith Brandegee who helped to discover it.
Is A Shrimp Plant An Indoor Or Outdoor Plant?
A shrimp plant can grow year-round in warmer climates and will do well in the heat and humidity since it has a very long flowering cycle, which will start usually in the springtime and last right through until winter. In climates which have cooler weather patterns, shrimp plants can be grown indoors or can be grown outdoors on a deck or in a conservatory. To turn your shrimp plant into a houseplant, all you need to do is pot it up and place it in a sunny spot to encourage it to continue growing.
What Is The Shrimp Plant Used For?
The shrimp plant has numerous different uses: It makes a great border plant, an attractive greenhouse feature, a patio deck enhancer and it’s even been used medicinally by a small group of people in Mexico. The Huastec people include the shrimp plant as part of their traditional medicine.
It is said to have numerous everyday uses, from treating gastrointestinal disorders to staving off dysentery and cleaning wounds. As it stands, there are several scientific studies going on in the Justicia genus to see what other types of medicinal uses it could have, as well as seeing what phytochemical constituents make it up.
Is A Shrimp Plant Cold Hardy?
Shrimp plants are tropical plants and prefer to have humidity. They are relatively easy to cultivate and prefer warmer weather. However, some once they have had a full season to establish have been known to weather light frosts, as they die back to the ground and regrow again during the warmer months. However, just as many shrimp plants are likely not to overwinter well and not return again next spring. To keep your shrimp plant healthy, it’s best to dig up any you let grow in-ground outdoors, move it indoors into a pot and then look to replant it again once the warmer months return.
How Long Do Shrimp Plants Last?
While shrimp plant flowers don’t last longer than a few days, their bracts are the main draw and will continue all throughout the growing season. To keep your shrimp plant thriving, regular pruning will do it good.
A hard pruning done each spring will help it to keep its shape, encourage new growth and even encourage it to flower. After the bracts begin to grow, you enjoy them for several months, before it takes a winter break. On average most shrimp plants live for many years, though as they age they do become more brittle and care must be taken not to damage them. Repotting every second year is a good rule to follow to keep your plant living happily for many more years.
All in all, a shrimp plant is a reasonably low-maintenance plant and will do well regardless of whether you plant it in an indoor or outdoor setting.
Lily’s love for flowers and plants was nurtured in her grandmother’s vibrant garden. Over the years, this affection blossomed into a full-fledged passion for horticulture.
With formal training in botany and countless hours in her own backyard oasis, Lily has cultivated a deep understanding of plant care and garden design.
Jump To a Section Below
- What Is A Shrimp Plant?
- How To Grow Shrimp Plant
- When To Plant Shrimp Plant
- Where To Plant Shrimp Plant
- How To Plant Shrimp Plant
- What Is The Meaning Of A Shrimp Plant?
- Is A Shrimp Plant An Indoor Or Outdoor Plant?
- What Is The Shrimp Plant Used For?
- Is A Shrimp Plant Cold Hardy?
- How Long Do Shrimp Plants Last?