How to Take Care of a Shrimp Plant


The shrimp plant (Justicia brandegeana or Beloperone guttata) is a low-maintenance tropical perennial that is commonly grown indoors as a houseplant in non-tropical regions. Shrimp plants grow groups of erect, 3- to 4-foot-tall stems that bear small flowers with 6-inch-long arching bracts. The flower bracts are red to rust-brown and showy. Native to Mexico, the shrimp plant is easy to care for and can tolerate low-light conditions, typically growing much smaller indoors than outside.

Step 1

Position your shrimp plant in bright, indirect sunlight. Maintain normal daytime indoor air temperatures around your shrimp plant of 65 to 75 degrees F, but cooler temperatures at night of 55 to 60 degrees F.

Step 2

Water your shrimp plant thoroughly to drench the soil until the water drains from the bottom of the pot, when the soil feels dry to the touch. Don't allow the potting soil to stay waterlogged or to become extremely dry, and discard any excess water left in the drainage dish within one hour of watering.

Step 3

Feed your shrimp plant once each month while it's actively growing and flowering using a 20-20-20 NPK water-soluble houseplant fertilizer. Dissolve 1 ½ tsp. of fertilizer in 1 gallon of water and pour it into the potting soil.

Step 4

Mist your shrimp plant daily to increase humidity around the plant during extremely dry summer or winter conditions. You can also set the pot on top of a dish filled with water and gravel, with the container sitting on top of the gravel and not in the water.

Step 5

Repot your shrimp plant when the roots become crowded and pot-bound in the container. Transfer the shrimp plant to a container that's the next size up (typically 1 to 2 inches wider and deeper) and filled with a mixture of 3 parts peat moss, 1 part vermiculite and 1 part perlite.

Tips and Warnings

  • Watch out for spider mites infesting your shrimp plant, which can cause yellowing or distortion of the leaves and sometimes fine webs that look like spider webs on the foliage. Treat spider mite infestations early by washing the leaves with soapy water. Treat heavy infestations by spraying the shrimp plant with a miticide, according to the instructions on the label.

Things You'll Need

  • Water-soluble houseplant fertilizer
  • Water spray bottle
  • Planter pots
  • Peat moss
  • Vermiculite
  • Perlite


  • University of Missouri Extension: Caring for Houseplants
  • Grow Green: Plant of the Week--Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana)

Who Can Help

  • Guide to Shrimp Plant
Keywords: shrimp plant care, grow Justicia brandegeana, shrimp 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.