Native to Mexico, the shrimp plant (Justicia brandegeana) is a flowering, clumping shrub that grows best in USDA Hardiness Zones 8 through 11, where minimum annual temperatures stay above 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The shrimp plant will bloom year-round in warmer regions, where winter temperatures don't drop below 30 to 35 degrees Farenheit. In cooler zones that have winter temperatures down to 10 or 15 degrees Farenheit, the shrimp plant will die back to the ground during a hard frost, but then it will grow back quickly when the temperatures warm up again. The shrimp plant has unusual but lovely red bracts with tongue-shaped white flowers.
Select a planting site that receives full sunlight to partial shade and has rich, well-draining soil. Choose an area where the shrimp plant can spread, allowing for at least 3 to 6 feet of width.
Dig a planting hole for the shrimp plant that is the same depth as and twice the width of the nursery container. Mix into the displaced soil some organic compost or aged manure.
Remove the shrimp plant carefully from the nursery container and set the roots into the planting hole. Backfill the planting hole with the amended soil, firm down the soil with your hands, and water the soil generously and deeply down to the root zone.
Water your shrimp plant deeply two or three times each week to keep the soil thoroughly moist at all times. Water the plant daily during hot, dry weather.
Feed your shrimp plant once every two weeks during the spring and summer with a liquid fertilizer made for flowering shrubs. Follow the application directions on the label and fertilize while watering the plant.