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Shrimp Plants • Southern Rural Route

Shrimp plants are native to Zones 8 through 11. In frost-free areas, they bloom continuously and look good planted as a mass in perennial beds or borders. It does well in full to part sun but must be watered generously in the summer. In winter, it might disappear below the ground but comes back strong in warmer weather.

The red, white and yellow shrimp plants have oddly angled branching stems and grow 3 to 5 feet tall. New plants can be started from stem cuttings or by clump division.

I have this dark red shrimp plant, justicia brandegeeana known as Red Pinecone with a pink tongue-like bloom. I love it and I’m trying to grow more of it. All of the following photo links go to Dave’s Garden.

justicia brandegeeana

I also have the white shrimp plant, justicia betonica known as Squirrel’s Tail and White Shrimp Plant. I happen to think it has an ugly bloom. It wasn’t blooming when I got it at a swap meet. Just give me another swap meet and I’m  palming this thing off on somebody else.

More commonly recognized is the yellow shrimp plant, pachystachys lutea, known as Golden Shrimp Plant. It has a white tongue-like flower that is more noticeable than the other shrimp plant blooms.

One that I have never seen with my own eyes is the purple shrimp plant, justicia scheidweileri, known as Purple Shrimp Plant, Rose Pine, South African Acanthus, Jade Magic, and Maracas Brazilian Fireworks. It has a VERY attractive leaf with white veins.

The pink shrimp plant, justicia carnea, known as Brazilian Plume, does not look like any of the above shrimp plants but it has been in Momma’s collection, and now mine, for years.

justicia carnea
These are grown at my front steps and are 3 feet tall; another mass in deep shade are 4 to 5 feet tall.

The blue shrimp plant, cerinthe major purparescens, also known as Blue Wax Flower, Honeywort and Blue Shrimp Plant. To me, it does not look anything like a shrimp plant although it is quite striking and, when photoshopped, will have you drooling.