Shrimp Plant, Beloperone guttata, Mexican Shrimp Plant, Chuparosa
|Over 400 species of these brightly blooming shrubs occur in the tropics and subtropics, but just one grows wild in the temperate United States -- the California desert shrub Justicia californica, or Chuparosa. In spring, soft red flowers somewhat like a Salvia's cover the widespreading branches, attracting birds. Hardiest of the tropical species, Justicia brandegeana makes an appealing houseplant, though it tends to grow leggy after a year or two. The masses of pinkish-red flowers, blooming nearly year-round, earned its common name Shrimp Plant. It thrives on a south- or east-facing windowsill, and can summer outdoors. Justicia brandegeana Variegata has cream-blotched leaves. The hundreds of frost-tender species bring lush green foliage and spikes of red, purple, yellow or white flowers to a greenhouse tub or bed. Big arching leaves in opposed pairs resemble an avocado plant's. The undemanding Chuparosa flowers best in full sun or a little partial shade, with a well-drained medium- to high-fertility, loamy soil. Soak well, then let become somewhat dry. Shrimp Plant needs more constant moisture, or leaves may drop. Water plentifully and feed weekly in full growth. Best at about 70º F during the day, 60º F at night. Keep just moist in winter, with a minimum of 45º to 50º F. Drafts can cause flower drop. Replace gangly specimens yearly, or repot and top-dress (covering the soil with compost). Tropicals and subtropicals need higher temperatures and humidity, and very coarse rich soil kept moderately moist. In winter, keep night temperatures above 60º F, with days 5º to 15º higher. Keep young plants bushy by pinching off, and prune back hard in spring. All species grow quickly and may form buds in the first year. Remove these because blooming too young impedes development of a mature healthy plant. Grow from cuttings at any time. Susceptible to scale and mealybugs.
This downy shrub bears arching flower pendants to 3 or 4 inches long. Showy bracts vary from rose to red to yellow to brown.
Attributes - Justicia brandegeana
Plant Type: Shrub
Bloom Season: Early Spring through Early Summer
Flower Color: White
Height: 2 ft. to 4 ft.
Width: 4 ft.
Sunlight: Full Sun, Partial Sun
Climate: Zones 9, 10
Notes: Container Plants, Cut Flowers, Edible, Fragrant, Long Blooming, Low Maintenance, Showy Flowers.