Red shrimp plant (Justicia brandegeana) is an unusual plant with drooping red blooms that resemble shrimp. The flowers grow atop thin stems that can reach heights of 3 to 5 feet, with each clump spreading out as much as 3 feet wide. The shrimp plant, native to Mexico, is pest resistant and does well in subtropical and tropical climates, where the plant will bloom most of the year with very little care. Hummingbirds are attracted to the colorful blooms. Red shrimp plant, also known as Mexican shrimp bush, is hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture planting zones 8 to 11.
Plant red shrimp plant in well drained soil and full to partial sunlight. In hot desert climates, red shrimp plant should be planted in afternoon shade.
Water deeply during hot weather. Keep the soil consistently moist at all times. Inadequate moisture will cause the red shrimp plant to drop leaves.
Fertilize your red shrimp plant lightly in March, using a granular fertilizer with a ratio such as 5-10-5. Read the fertilizer container label carefully, as rates of application will vary depending on your soil type and the size of your plant. Sprinkle the fertilizer around the plant, then water the fertilizer into the soil. Repeat after six weeks and 12 weeks.
Trim the tips of the red shrimp plant occasionally throughout the growing season to maintain a bushy, attractive bush. Remove the stem tips and 1 to 2 inches of stem.
If you live in a cool winter climate, red shrimp plant can be planted in containers. Enjoy the plant outdoors during the summer, then bring it in before temperatures drop in autumn. Use a sturdy container with bottom drainage. Fill the container with commercial potting soil.
Red shrimp plant can be propagated by taking stem cuttings. Plant the cuttings in a container filled with commercial potting soil. Place the container in bright, indirect light.
Don’t worry if your red shrimp plant is nipped by frost. Even if the plant looks dead, it will come back in the spring.