How to Care for a Tropical Plant Called a Shrimp Plant


Shrimp plants (Justicia brandegeana, formerly Beloperone guttata) are tropical perennial plants that are covered with arching, 3- to 4-inch-tall spiky flower bracts that are reddish-brown to coppery-pink. The shrimp plant also blooms in tiny white flowers, but they're insignificant compared to the showy, shrimp-colored bracts. The shrimp plant is a rounded shrub that can be easily container-grown indoors or planted outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 through 11, where winter temperatures don't dip below 35 degrees F. Without pruning, the shrimp plant can grow up to 3 feet tall and wide.

Step 1

Water your shrimp plant two or three times per week to keep the soil evenly and constantly moistened from spring until fall. Cut back on watering the shrimp plant in winter, allowing the top 2 or 3 inches of soil to dry out before watering.

Step 2

Feed your shrimp plant once every two weeks with a liquid high-phosphorous flower fertilizer at half the normal dosage rate. Fertilize the shrimp plant all year long.

Step 3

Prune your shrimp plant in early spring. Cut the stems back to nearly half their length each year to prevent the plant from growing too tall and "leggy."

Step 4

Pinch back the growing tips throughout the spring and summer to encourage the shrimp plant to branch out properly. Pinching off the stem tips will help the shrimp plant to grow bushier and more compact.

Step 5

Re-pot your shrimp plant when it outgrows it pot. Re-pot in the spring, potting the shrimp plant up to a container that's 1 ½ times the size of the previous one and filling the pot with an all-purpose potting soil.

Tips and Warnings

  • Position your shrimp plant in bright light to allow it to bloom. Place your shrimp plant outdoors in full, direct sunlight for half the day during the warmer spring and summer months.

Things You'll Need

  • Watering can
  • Liquid high-phosphorous fertilizer
  • Pruning shears
  • Planter pots
  • All-purpose potting soil


  • Shrimp Plant

Who Can Help

  • Justicia brandegeana (Shrimp Plant)
Keywords: shrimp plant care, grow Justicia brandegeana, shrimp plant houseplant

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.