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Plant of the Month
Justicia brandegeana and Pachystachys lutea are both members of the family Acanthaceae and both commonly known as Shrimp Plants or Brazilian Plumes. These plants are pan-tropical in origin and form very showy blooms which resemble shrimp.
Common Name: Shrimp Plant, Brazilian Plume
Botanical Name: Justicia brandegeana and Pachystachys lutea
Plant Type: Bushy, spreading sub-shrub
Zones: 8 - 11 (suffer freeze damage below 50°F, 20°F kills plants to the ground, but they may re-emerge and flower in the spring).
Rate of Growth: Moderate
Salt Tolerance: Poor
Soil Requirements: Rich, moist, well-drained soil, acid to slightly alkaline pH.
Water Requirements: Moderate drought tolerance, water established plants when weather or soil is dry. Water sparingly in winter.
Nutritional Requirements: Balanced liquid fertilizer monthly, heavy mulching and applications of organic matter enhance root growth and help to keep nematodes in check.
Light Requirements: Full sun to shade (bright light encourages flowering).
Form: Bushy, spreading sub-shrub
Leaves: 2"-5" oblong shaped
Flowers: Brightly colored red, yellow or orange shrimp-shaped terminal spikes of bracts almost year round. Cut back after flowering to encourage branching and new growth that will terminate in flower-bracts.
Pests: Nematodes can be a problem.
Uses: Informal hedge, border, container or planter, or grouped for large areas of color. Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.
Bad Habits: None
Cost: $ -- very reasonable
Propagation: Tip cuttings, stems will root themselves where they touch the ground -- easy to transplant.
Sources: Betrocks FL Plant Guide , Tropical Gardening
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Plants of the Month Index
Last updated 06/03/08