How To Grow & Care For the Shrimp Plant

The Shrimp Plant, scientifically known as Justicia brandegeeana, is a lush, tropical plant known for its unique, shrimp-like flower bracts. These distinctive flower heads, which often come in shades of yellow, pink, or rusty bronze, resemble the curve and color of shrimp, lending the plant its common name. The bright green leaves and colorful flowers make it a popular ornamental plant in gardens and indoor settings.

Native to Mexico, the Shrimp Plant has made its way into the hearts of gardeners worldwide. It’s an evergreen shrub that can provide a continual burst of color throughout the year. This bushy, upright plant, with its richly textured foliage and intriguing blossoms, invites admiration and curiosity, often becoming a conversation piece in the garden.

Adaptable and resilient, the Shrimp Plant is relatively easy to grow and care for, making it an excellent choice for both beginners and seasoned gardeners. Its vibrant colors and unusual form add a touch of the tropics, even in non-tropical settings.

Common NamesShrimp Plant
Botanical NameJusticia brandegeeana
Plant TypeEvergreen shrub
Mature Size3-4 feet tall, 2-3 feet wide
Sun ExposureFull sun to partial shade
Soil TypeWell-draining, rich soil
Hardiness Zones9-11
Native AreaMexico

Shrimp Plant Care

Shrimp Plant care is relatively straightforward, thanks to its adaptability and resilience. The plant thrives in well-draining soil and appreciates consistent moisture without becoming waterlogged.

Regular pruning can help maintain the Shrimp Plant’s shape and encourage more flowers. During the growing season, feeding with a balanced fertilizer will promote vigorous growth and blooming. The Shrimp Plant is also well-suited to container growing, allowing gardeners in cooler climates to enjoy this tropical beauty indoors.

Light Requirement for Shrimp Plant

The Shrimp Plant flourishes in full sun to partial shade. While it can tolerate a wide range of light conditions, too much shade may reduce flowering, and direct, intense sunlight can scorch the leaves.

Soil Requirements for Shrimp Plant

A well-draining, rich soil is ideal for the Shrimp Plant. The soil should retain moisture without becoming soggy, as poor drainage can lead to root rot.

Water Requirements for Shrimp Plant

Water the Shrimp Plant regularly to keep the soil consistently moist. It’s best to allow the top layer of soil to dry slightly before watering again to prevent overwatering.

Temperature and Humidity

Shrimp Plants prefer temperatures between 60-75°F (15-24°C). They can tolerate brief temperature drops, but prolonged exposure to cold can damage the plant. A humid environment mimics the plant’s natural tropical habitat and is beneficial for growth.


Feed the Shrimp Plant with a balanced liquid fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season. Reduce or stop fertilizing in the winter months.

Pruning Shrimp Plant

Regular pruning helps maintain the Shrimp Plant’s shape and encourages more flowers. Cut back leggy growth and remove spent flowers to keep the plant looking fresh and vibrant.

Propagating Shrimp Plant

The Shrimp Plant can be easily propagated through stem cuttings. Cut a healthy stem, remove the lower leaves, and plant it in moist soil or water to encourage root growth.

How To Grow Shrimp Plant From Seed

Growing the Shrimp Plant from seed is less common but possible. Sow seeds in moist soil and cover lightly. Provide warmth and consistent moisture until germination occurs.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases


Small insects that can be controlled with insecticidal soap.

Spider Mites

Keep humidity high and use miticides if infestation occurs.

Common Problems With Shrimp Plant

Leggy Growth

Often caused by insufficient light. Move to a brighter location.


May result from overwatering or underwatering. Adjust watering habits accordingly.

Lack of Flowers

Could be due to inadequate sunlight or improper pruning. Adjust care practices as needed.

Pro Tips

  1. Place in a location with bright, indirect light to promote healthy growth and flowering.
  2. Prune regularly to encourage bushy growth and more blooms.
  3. Provide consistent moisture but avoid waterlogging.
  4. Consider growing in a container if you live in a non-tropical climate.
  5. Monitor for common pests and address promptly to keep the plant healthy.